Huge wildfires in Northern California have been continuing since Nov. 8. The Camp Fire has caused the greatest amount of destruction and loss of life of any fire in the state’s history. Although the air quality in the region varies from day to day, it was particularly bad in the Bay Area yesterday.
According to AirVisual, San Francisco had worse air quality than any of the most polluted cities in the world yesterday afternoon. It is the worst on record for the city. The Air Quality Index (AQI) was a whopping 357. Even when the air is foggy, which it often is, it never is as gray and murky as it is now.
Below are two photos of San Francisco. The clear one was taken before the fires began, and the smoky one was taken a few days after the fires started. Where I am in Marin County right now, the smoke is even worse than it is in San Francisco. It has been this way for 11 days, and I am really tired of it. However, I am thankful that the fires have not made it here.
President Trump came to California today to meet with Governor Brown and Governor-elect Newsom. They visited fire sites in both No. CA and in So. CA.
After reading most of the latter page—including the Proposal section and the Impact on base unit definitions section—I am somewhat confused as to why the redefinitions of these units really needed to be done. It seems that, over time, this potentially could cause complications in the measurement systems of all the nations that use this system.
Several thousand migrants from Central American countries have been traveling for weeks through Mexico, headed for the U.S. It seems that most of them are coming from Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. Many are hitching rides on trucks and buses.
In recent days, the first wave of several hundred reached Tijuana, MX. The shelter system there to house migrants has reached its capacity, but more continue to come.
A fight broke out yesterday between residents of Tijuana and Honduran migrants. The Mexican residents were yelling to the Hondurans, “Go home! We don’t want you here!”
Also yesterday, over a dozen migrants were arrested near San Diego for attempting to cross the U.S. border illegally. This probably will be followed by the illegal entry of thousands more migrants.
Members of the new 116th Congress voted today for members to fill various leadership positions. The new Speaker of the House still has not been selected but must be named by Jan. 3, 2019. Most feel that this position will be filled by Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who was the Speaker from 2007 to 2011.
Majority Leader: Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Majority Whip: John Thune (R-SD) Minority Leader: Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Minority Whip: Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Majority Leader (Speaker): ??? Majority Whip: Steny Hoyer (D-MD) Minority Leader: Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Minority Whip: Steve Scalise (R-LA)
The huge fires still raging in No. and So. California, which began last week, have been extremely destructive and deadly. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) has reported that one of its transmission lines suffered an outage about 14 minutes before the Camp Fire in No. CA started.
Meanwhile, Southern California Edison has reported that a substation experienced a problem near the location where the Woolsey Fire started. Stock prices of both electric companies have fallen substantially. Investigations are ongoing.
Governor Jerry Brown continues to blame the cause of these wildfires on “climate change,” as he has done for CA wildfires in the past. Yet, experts say that overcrowded forests, as well as a great abundance of dead wood and brush, are the primary reasons why there continue to be so many wildfires.
In 2016, there was a vote on Senate Bill 1463 in the CA Legislature. This bill would have given local governments more say in fire-prevention efforts, through the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), by adopting maps of fire hazard areas around utility lines.
There was absolutely no opposition to the bill, which was passed unanimously by the state Legislature. The vote in the Assembly was 75-0, and the vote in the Senate was 39-0.
However, when the bill reached the desk of Governor Brown, he vetoed it. He claimed that the PUC and CalFire already were doing what the bill would have provided.
Whenever I’m here in Marin County, I like to listen to the KSFO Morning Show on the radio most mornings. It can be heard online at KSFO Radio in San Francisco, airing from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time. There is no need to click on anything on that page; the sound should begin soon after the page loads.
The hosts of the Morning Show are Brian Sussman and Katie Green. I enjoy their humor and conservative views.
Today, which continues the observation of Veterans Day, they took some calls from veterans and friends/relatives of veterans. Those discussions were informative, and many of them were very moving.
Brian and Katie provided updates on the huge wildfires continuing to burn in No. and So. CA. For one thing, the so-called Camp Fire in Butte County—which burned to the ground virtually all of the city of Paradise—has been classified as the most destructive wildfire in California history.
Also, having caused 29 fatalities so far, it ranks with the 1933 Griffith Park Fire as being the deadliest fires in state history. However, the Camp Fire fatalities probably will exceed 29, since there are 228 people unaccounted for. If so, it will become the deadliest blaze ever in the state.
CA Governor Jerry Brown—who will be succeeded by Governor-elect Gavin Newsom on Jan. 7, 2019—continues to blame human-caused “climate change” as the primary reason for the wildfires in the state. In reality, the main problem is the poor forest management, and Brown and Newsom do not want to take the blame for that.
Where I am located right now, I’ve almost always been able to see distinct details beyond the Petaluma River. For the past several days, though, this has not been the case because it has been so smoky. Furthermore, the smell of smoke is so strong that I need to wear a mask when I take Lulu dog for her walks.
Along with wildfires in No. CA, there also are wildfires in So. CA. The Woolsey fire, fueled by high winds, is devastating portions of Ventura and Los Angeles Counties.
One of my favorite cities, for decades, has been Malibu. I had friends there in the 1980s and 1990s, and and I drove up from Orange County to that beautiful coastal city fairly often. Today, there was a mandatory evacuation of the whole city, as well as of nearby Calabasas and Agoura Hills.
I’ve been here here in Marin County for almost two weeks, and the weather has been nice. Also, the air has been clear—until today.
Early this afternoon, I noticed the smell of smoke in my friend’s house with many of the windows open. When I went outside, I could smell the smoke strongly, so I shut all the windows.
Looking toward the Petaluma River, I barely could see anything beyond the river, due to all the smoke. Below, the first 3 photos were taken on Oct. 28 (the day after I arrived here), and the last 3 photos were taken this afternoon.
On TV and online, I discovered that there are wildfires in a couple of nearby counties, and the wind is blowing the smoke this way. Then I found a map showing several shaded areas in No. CA that are under fire weather warnings and watches.
Much of Marin County, just north of San Francisco, is in a shaded area. It is very dry here, so that makes me kind of nervous. I hope nobody around here drops a lighted match or cigarette on the ground.
There are too many results from yesterday’s midterm elections, across all 50 states, to list here. Also, although most of the results are final, many election outcomes are still pending.
Two things are certain. Republicans have gained at least 2 seats in the U.S. Senate and have retained control of the Senate. However, Democrats have gained at least 25 seats in the House of Representatives, which is enough to put the House under Democratic control.
It is assumed, by most, that Nancy Pelosi will become the next Speaker of the House. If so, she will replace Speaker Paul Ryan, who will resign from Congress on Jan. 3, 2019.
Here in California, the issue I have focused on the most is Proposition 6. Regrettably, that important proposition on the state ballot was defeated yesterday. This means that the increases in fuel taxes and vehicle fees, enacted in 2017, will remain and will continue to increase each year. The election results of this and other propositions can be found here:
Furthermore, California’s former Democratic Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, has won the state’s gubernatorial race. There seems to be a general concensus that he will govern even further to the left than Jerry Brown.
In other news, the U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, resigned today. Reports say that this happened after President Trump asked him to do so.
Trump has named Matthew Whitaker, a federal prosecutor and Chief of Staff at the Justice Department, as the acting Attorney General. There are rumors that the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, also will be leaving soon.
require voter approval (via ballot propositions) for the California State Legislature to impose, increase or extend fuel taxes or vehicle fees in the future.
However, many supporters of Proposition 6 have pointed out that the following phrase is in the first portion of the title of the proposition on the state ballot: “ELIMINATES CERTAIN ROAD REPAIR AND TRANSPORTATION FUNDING.” They have pointed out that this was done on purpose to deceive voters into voting “no” on the measure.
Supporters of the proposition also have pointed out that CA Attorney General Xavier Bacerra was instrumental in having this description of Proposition 6 placed on the ballot. They also have indicated their desire to recall Becerra over what they consider to be a misleading ballot title. If Proposition 6 is declined by voters, I expect to see a “recall Bacerra” movement to ensue.
Gasoline prices in California are ridiculous. Yesterday, I saw two gas stations where regular (the least expensive) gas was $3.99 per gallon. In some places, it is higher than that.
This mainly is due to the passage of Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) by the CA State Legislature on Apr. 28, 2017. It raised gas taxes and vehicle license fees in hopes of generating over $5.4 billion each year for road and bridge repairs in the state.
In past years, the state government has spent a great deal of money, which was allocated for transporation infrastructure, on other projects. There is little doubt, in the minds of many Californians, that the same will happen to the added gas taxes and license fees.
The gasoline tax went into effect a little over a year ago on Nov. 1, 2017. The increased vehicle registration fees began on Jan. 1, 2018. State Senator Josh Newman, from the 29th Senate District, was the deciding vote in passing SB 1.
In Fullerton on May 11, 2017, I attended an event to launch a recall campaign against Senator Newman and also to have the gas and car taxes repealed. Indeed, five months ago on June 5, CA voters removed Newman from his Orange County-based Senate seat.
Also, I’m hoping and praying that, on Nov. 6, people nationwide will vote for candidates who revere the U.S. Constitution, who greatly value human life (including in the womb) and who are living in the Light of our Lord and God in their lives. I want to see this country growing closer to God rather than continuing to drift further away from Him, as the latter will have calamitous and disastrous ramifications.
Most of the United States will “fall back” to Standard Time early tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 2:00 a.m. I like the following clock because it is accurate to the second, plus it can be adjusted to any time zone: http://time.gov/HTML5. Except for Hawaii and Arizona, don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed tonight.
Some people prefer Standard Time because they typically get up early and like it when the sun rises an hour earlier. Personally, I prefer Daylight Saving Time because I like the extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day. I wish Daylight Saving Time could continue year-round.
At Olive Tree Ministries today, Jan Markell, Michele Bachmann and Phil Haney talked about how the U.S. is experiencing a great deal of anarchy, rebellion and lawlessness. It is leading to an increasing amount of violence in the streets, and there probably are a great many things worse to come.
This nation seems to be distancing itself more and more from God and His laws. All of this seems to be a foreshadowing of the end-time lawlessness and defiance predicted in the Bible.
Today’s audio program, lasting 57 minutes, can be heard here:
Defiance: The Consequences of Government as God: Audio
A friend in So. CA asked me if I felt any of the swarm of small earthquakes in No. CA early this morning. I did not.
The quakes took place near Monterey Bay, and none of them was very large. Here are the magnitudes and times:
4.1 3.2 3.0 3.6
4:58 a.m. 5:01 a.m. 5:10 a.m. 5:22 a.m.
| | |
3.2 3.6 3.4
7:15 a.m. 7:27 a.m. 8:19 a.m.
I heard on the radio that small amounts of shaking, but no damage, were reported in San Jose and in Santa Cruz. I don’t think that any shaking was felt in San Francisco, and I am north of that in Novato right now.
Small quakes, especially in a swarm, can be foreshocks of large quakes, though. These quakes today were not too far from the epicenter of the huge 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, a whopping magnitude 6.9. It was felt throughout the Bay Area and caused a tremendous amount of damage. So I hope nothing like that happens while I’m here.
I’ll be taking my friend Barry to the San Francisco airport tonight. He’s going to the Philippines to scuba dive for about 2½ weeks.
He needed to go to the bank to get some cash for his trip, and he also needed to stop by the dive center to pick up something to take on his trip. He knew that I like to get 50%-off Halloween candy, so he also offered to take me to Rite Aid for that.
On the way, we made a quick stop at Trader Joe’s. For one thing, I like their free food samples. I also needed a couple of bananas (which they sell for only 19¢ each), and he wanted to try a bag of Ghost Pepper potato chips.
We both like very hot/spicy food, and the ghost pepper (bhut jolokia) is one of the hottest chili peppers in the world. Although the chips were very tasty, they were only a little bit spicy. I told him there probably was only about 1 molecule of ghost pepper on each chip; he laughed and agreed.
At Rite Aid, there was a large section of half-priced Halloween candy. I just wanted one bag of dark chocolate candy but could not find any. Since I like chocolate and peanut butter, I got a 10.2-oz. bag of Reese’s peanut butter pumpkins for $2.35.
After I had paid for it, crazy Barry put the bag on a plate held by a Halloween witch. He said that I needed to tell her “trick or treat” if I wanted my candy back. I just grabbed the bag and ran before she could cast a spell on me. Thank goodness she did not have a broom and could not chase me.
At the dive shop, there was a bowl of Halloween candy on the counter for customers. I took a small package, and a couple of employees encouraged me to take more, saying they did not want to be tempted to eat more of it. So I took three more little packages. Half-priced candy is great, but 100%-off candy is even better.
Back at Barry’s, he harvested a nice selection of vegetables for me from his garden. I probably will eat all of it before he gets back from his trip. I never get tired of fresh veggies.
Happy Halloween for those who are into it. I’m not; it’s just another ordinary day to me.
My friend wanted to take his dog Lulu in the car, which she loves, and for a walk in the Rush Creek Open Space Preserve here in Marin County. He said they hadn’t gone there for at least a month. I hadn’t been there with them since Mar. 26, 2016.
We got there just as the sun was about to set, so a lot of the landscape wasn’t well-illuminated. It was a nice walk, although my camera doesn’t take great photos if the light isn’t very bright.
Lulu is about 16 and doesn’t walk nearly as far as she used to. So we didn’t walk the entire trail.
A couple of days ago, I flew up to No. CA. I was here for 5½ weeks in August and September. My friend Barry flew me up here back then to watch his house and his dog, Lulu, while he was scuba diving in Indonesia. Again, he has flown me here for a month while he goes diving in the Philippines.
After eating breakfast early Saturday morning, I did not eat again until after I got here last night. When we got to Barry’s house, I was happy to see that he had prepared an extremely tasty dinner. He should be a chef in a world-class restaurant.
Also, in his kitchen, I saw lots of vegetables from his garden. One of the things I love about California is the long growing season. He said that the garden should continue producing fresh vegetables well into November...great!
Last time I was here, it was smoky and hazy most of the time, due to wildfires in No. CA. Now I am glad to see that all the smoke and haze are gone.
I also was excited to see a deer in the front yard yesterday morning. He stood there for awhile, watching me wave at him. I wish he would have let me get close enough to pet him.
A very evil, appalling and horrific mass shooting occurred this morning at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. The man believed to be responsible for the massacre is Robert Bowers, 46.
According to 911 dispatchers, the suspect opened fire shortly after entering the synagogue and later fired at first responders. In the shooting, 11 people were killed and 6 were wounded (including 4 officers) by the suspect. Bowers reportedly had multiple firearms, including a high-powered rifle.
The Department of Justice announced that Bowers has been charged with 29 counts, including using a firearm to commit murder and obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs. He was taken into custody after reportedly opening fire on the Jewish congregation during Shabbat (Sabbath) services.
Authorities say the full motive of the shooting is not known. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime. According to the leader of the Anti-Defamation League, it was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history
The eleven deceased victims of the Tree of Life shooting were identified as the following:
Rose Mallinger, 97 Melvin Wax, 88 Sylvan Simon, 87 Bernice Simon, 84 Joyce Fienberg, 75 Daniel Stein, 71
Irving Younger, 69 Jerry Rabinowitz, 66 Richard Gottfried, 65 Cecil Rosenthal, 59 David Rosenthal, 54
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed that he was “heartbroken and appalled by the murderous attack on the Pittsburgh synagogue today.” He also said that “the entire people of Israel grieve with the families of the dead.” We all should feel the same way.
Several suspicious packages addressed to notable Democratic progressives were intercepted by the Secret Service today. The packages had distinct similarities. Fortunately, none of the packages exploded nor reached those to whom they were addressed.
Packages were addressed to the homes of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, to John Brennan at the New York City Time Warner Center (where CNN is located and was evacuated), to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz at her Florida office, and to Congresswoman Maxine Waters in Washington, DC, among others.
All of this follows the discovery of a pipe bomb in the mailbox of George Soros near his suburban New York City home two days ago. That package was taken by a federal bomb squad to another location and detonated.
President Trump has called these acts of terrorism despicable and has said that “a major federal investigation is now underway.” Vice President Pence has condemned the attempted attacks and thanked the Secret Service for their quick response. There are ongoing investigations attempting to discover the origin or origins of the dangerous packages.
In other news, last night there was one winner of the gigantic $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot. It was the largest lottery jackpot ever won by one person, although it was the second largest actual jackpot ever (topped only by the $1.596 billion Powerball jackpot on Jan. 13, 2016).
The five regular numbers were 5, 28, 62, 65, 70. The Mega ball number was 5. The Megaplier multiple was 3x, on winnings less than the jackpot, for those who paid the extra $1 (in states where it is allowed).
The ticket was purchased in South Carolina, which is one of the few states where a winner can remain anonymous. Other states where this is true are Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas.
There was no winner of the $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot on Oct. 19. Tonight, the jackpot is expected to reach $1.6 billion. If so, it will be the largest in history.
Prior to this, the largest lottery jackpot in history was the Powerball jackpot on Jan. 13, 2016. That jackpot was $1.596 billion.
The drawing will be at 8:00 p.m. PDT = 11:00 p.m. EDT. However, it’s a good idea to get your tickets early because the lines of people can get long as the deadline approaches, especially for such a whopping big jackpot.
If you have not played before, see the How to Play page. In states that offer the “Megaplier” option, I recommend doing that for an extra $1 (above the regular $2 ticket price) in states that permit it.
By the way, I do not recommend any type of gambling, including the lottery, at least on a regular basis. It is a waste of money and, in the long run, is bound to be a losing endeavor.
There is a very small chance of winning the jackpot, but anything is possible. The calculations of the probability are pretty interesting:
On Oct. 15, President Trump had a phone conversation with Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The topic of discussion was Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared at the Saudi consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2.
Trump reported that bin Salman denied that he had any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi. However, there are many who doubt that this is true.
Today, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir had an exclusive interview with Bret Baier at Fox News. Al-Jubeir said that 18 individuals have been detained in Saudi Arabia to be questioned about their role in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. An 11-minute video can be viewed at the beginning of the following article:
Pertaining to weather forecasting for the U.S., the terms “El Niño” and “La Niña” are somewhat confusing to me. It is said that El Niño events are associated with a warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific; whereas, La Niña events are the reverse, with a sustained cooling of these same areas.
Recently, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that, most likely, an El Niño weather pattern will be forming within the next month and extending through early Spring of 2019. If so, then this probably has ramifications for certain types of weather in different parts of the U.S. Time will tell if their predictions are true.
In tonight’s Mega Millions lottery jackpot, the jackpot will be at least $1 billion. That is a record high for a Mega Millions jackpot.
This $1 billion jackpot is the second-highest lottery jackpot in history. The highest ever was a Powerball jackpot, in January 2016, for $1.586 billion.
I hardly ever play the Mega Millions lottery, and when I do I play only one ticket for $2. In some states (not in CA), there is the option of paying an extra $1 for a “megaplier,” which multiplies non-jackpot wins by a certain amount from 2 to 5.
Because the jackpot is so huge tonight, I went ahead and bought 3 Mega Millions tickets just for the heck of it. Of course, I’m not expecting to win; the chance of winning the jackpot is only about 1 in 302.5 million.
The drawing will be at 8:00 p.m. PDT = 11:00 p.m. EDT. I think tickets must be purchased an hour or two before the drawing...not sure about that.
Back on Oct. 2, Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. He has not been seen since then.
Turkish authorities have said they have evidence proving that Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents. However, officials in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, have claimed that Khashoggi was alive when he left the consulate building and that they do not know what happened to him.
Now, it seems that Saudi Arabia has prepared a statement disclosing that Khashoggi was killed as “the result of an interrogation that went wrong.” They say that this was part of an operation intended to abduct Khashoggi and transport him back to Saudi Arabia.
Earlier today, President Trump held a 20-minute phone conversation with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Trump said that the monarch adamantly denied any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi.
There is no way, as of yet, to know if this is or is not true. However, it is interesting to note that Salman appears to have a sketchy record on human rights.
Pastor Andrew Brunson was released from Turkey yesterday after being detained for two years. Today, after being returned to the U.S., he met with President Trump and prayed for him in the White House.
Brunson and his wife, Norine, were Christian missionaries in Turkey for 25 years. He was arrested in 2016 and accused of plotting to overthrow the government of Turkey. Even though he had rejected all of the allegations, he and his wife were under house arrest since then.
Prior to that, Brunson had served 20 months in a Turkish jail. He could have faced up to 35 years in prison. His supporters have said that the charges against him were absurd.
Trump placed sanctions and tariffs on Turkey earlier this year. It was an attempt to pressure the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to release Brunson. Today, Trump re-emphasized “no deal” was made with Turkey for Brunson’s release, but his release demonstrated good will that could repair the strained relationship between Turkey and the U.S.
There have been numerous attacks by Palestinians at the Gaza/Israel border since “Palestinian Land Day” on Mar. 3018. They always claim that these are “peaceful protests,” but they are not. As a result, there usually are numerous injuries and some deaths.
Today, it happened again. Around 15,000 Palestinians gathered along the border. Grenades and bombs were hurled at Israeli forces, and tires were burned. Several fires were started near Israel communities by incendiary balloons launched over the border.
After a bomb blew a hole in the fence, several Palestinians went through and ran toward Israeli soldiers. As a result, 7 Palestinians were killed and at least 252 were injured.
In recent weeks, the riots have increased from weekly to sometimes nightly and daily events. The Islamist terror group Hamas, which actively calls for the destruction of Israel, is the primary impetus perpetuating the Palestinian riots and attacks. There really is no end in sight.
A potential suicide bomber, Paul Rosenfeld, has been arrested in New York by the FBI. He is accused of buiding a 200-pound explosive device in the basement of his house and planning to explode it on the National Mall on Election Day, Nov. 6. He intended to kill himself in the process.
Rosenfeld embraces the political theory of “sortition.” Rather than selecting government officials by voting for them, sortition advocates that they be selected randomly. By exploding the bomb and himself, he intended to draw people’s attention to sortition.
Hurricane Michael made landfall as a category 4 storm (just short of a category 5) at about 12:10 p.m. on the Florida Panhandle. Many reports have said that this is the most powerful storm to hit this portion of Florida since 1851.
The eye, with 155 mph sustained winds, came on land just northwest of Davis Beach and Mexico Beach and southeast of Panama City. Then the eye passed directly over Tyndall Air Force Base. Hundreds of thousands of people already have experienced power outages. Michael will maintain hurricane-force winds as it passes through Georgia today and tomorrow.
Then, as a tropica storm, Michael will release damaging winds and flooding rain on South Carolina and North Carolina, both of which were soaked and flooded by Hurricane Florence beginning last month on Sep. 14. Also, tornadoes may be forming along the east side of the storm.
In other news, today the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) had the third greatest point drop ever: -831.83 points. There also was a significant point drop in the S&P 500 index: -94.66 points.
The decrease in the DJIA was topped only by declines of –1,175.21 points and –1,032.89 points. These took place on Feb. 5 and on Feb. 8, respectively.
Several possibilities have been given for this decline. Fears of rising interest rates, higher bond yields and slowing global economic growth have been proposed.
Some also have suggested that a sell-off is taking place as part of an “October surprise” prior to the Nov. 6 mid-term election. Potentially, this could be part of a “blue wave” in an attempt to move the U.S. House and Senate to the left.
Brett Kavanaugh officially was sworn in twice, as the next Justice of the Supreme Court, two days ago at private ceremonies. However, President Trump was not in Washington, DC, at the time and was unable to attend either event.
Today, though, Trump officiated at a public swearing-in ceremony in the East Room of the White House. Each of the eight other Supreme Court justices were present, along with Kavanaugh’s wife and daughters. Trump introduced all of them.
Former Justice Anthony Kennedy, whose retirement paved the way for Kavanaugh to replace him, administered the judicial oath for a second time. Then Justice Kavanaugh gave a speech. The whole ceremony took just over 30 minutes and can be seen here:
In case the video is unavailable, you can watch it here:
This afternoon, Judge Brett Kavanaugh received a 50-48 vote in the U.S. Senate to confirm him as the next justice on the Supreme Court. The “yes” votes included 49 Republicans plus Joe Manchin (D-WV). The “no” votes included 48 Democrats.
Although Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) opposed the confirmation of Kavanaugh, she voted “present” (rather than “no”). Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) was attending his daughter’s wedding in Montana, but he would have been a “yes” vote.
A couple of hours later, Brett Kavanaugh signed the necessary papers and then took the constitutional oath of office privately, administered by Supreme Court Justice John Roberts. His wife, Ashley, and two daughters, Margaret and Liza, stood nearby.
Following that, Kavanaugh again took the oath of office, administered by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom Kavanaugh is replacing. He now is the 114th Justice of the Supreme Court.
In a cloture vote this morning, the U.S. Senate voted to end the debate on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. This means that no more than 30 more hours of Senate floor debate can take place before a final vote will be made. Therefore, the vote today advances the final confirmation vote to the entire Senate, probably tomorrow afternoon.
Today’s vote was 51 for and 49 against cloture. The 51 “yes” votes included 50 Republicans plus Joe Manchin (D-WV). The 49 “no” votes included 48 Democrats plus Lisa Murkowski (R-AL).
After the vote, as part of the floor debate and remarks, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) spoke for a little over 44 minutes. I was very impressed with everything she said—following the initial yelling and shrieking by protestors, which was extremely annoying.
Her ultimate confirmation vote was in question, but the final words in her speech were, “I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.” Later, Joe Manchin (D-WV) also said that his would be a “yes” vote.
Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) has said that she will vote “present” (not “yes” or “no”) for Kavanaugh’s final confirmation vote. This will enable Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) to attend his daughter’s wedding in Montana tomorrow and not have to be in Washington, DC, to vote “yes” on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
Presumably, then, Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed as the next Supreme Court Justice, as soon as tomorrow. After that, I expect those who oppose him to go into an angry—and very possibly violent—fit of unhinged rage and fury, even worse than what we have seen so far.
In another record high, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed above 26,800 for the first time. The Dow was up 0.20% to 26,828.39, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index was up 0.07% to 2,925.51, not a record high.
In other news, FEMA’s first alert test test of the national wireless emergency system took place today. About 225 million electronic devices across the United States wailed and buzzed at 2:18 p.m. EDT = 11:18 a.m. PDT.
A tone sounded similar to that of an Amber Alert or flood watch warning. The subject of the alert said “Presidential Alert” and the text read “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” A second alert on television and radio broadcasts went off at 2:20 p.m. EDT = 12:20 p.m. PDT.
The system test is for a high-level “presidential” alert that would be used only in a nationwide emergency. It is being completed in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission.
Ths is the first anniversary of the deadliest mass shootings, committed by a single individual, in modern U.S. history. It took place from 10:05 to 10:15 p.m. in Las Vegas, NV, on Oct. 1, 2017.
The number of people killed from gunshot wounds was 59 (including the shooter, Stephen Paddock), and 851 others were injured from gunfire and the resulting panic. The exact motive of the murderer is still unknown.
This morning, a memorial sunrise ceremony was held at 6:30 a.m. at the Clark County Government Amphitheater. There were 58 seconds of silence to honor the victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival tragedy.
Tonight at 10:01 p.m., the lights of the Strip will go off. At 10:05 p.m. the names of the 58 deceased victims will be read.
Every Oct. 1, I’m always reminded of the 5.9 Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987. It commonly was called the “Shocktober 1st earthquake.” The quake was felt throughout southern California and southern Nevada. Today is the 31st anniversary of that event.
The quake happened at 7:42 a.m., just as I was finishing breakfast before going to work. The epicenter of the quake was about 40 miles from my house in Irvine, which rocked for several seconds. There was no damage to my property, though. The quake was felt throughout southern California and southern Nevada.
I was watching the morning news out of Los Angeles. A few minutes after the main shock, there was a small aftershock, which I did not feel in Irvine.
I remember watching two of the news guys, Christopher Nance and Kent Shocknek. They got freaked out due to the shaking and the swaying lights, caused by the aftershock, and jumped under their desk. You can watch a short David Letterman video where he talked about it and then showed a video of what happened:
I also felt a strong aftershock three days later, registering 5.3 to 5.5 and doing more damage to the L.A. area. Then life went on as usual. Here is a video, under 5 minutes, showing damage from the initial quake on Oct. 1 and from the aftershock on Oct. 4: