Hot Time In The Old Town: The Great Heat Wave Of 1896 And The Making Of Theodore Roosevelt

Over the years I have loved the stories that revolve around weather.  I have posted about them over time on the this blog, like here, and here.  Or here. Or here.  I do find these events most compelling and interesting to learn about.

As I was browsing through a catalog today came my next find, and with a coupon I bought this book for $3.00.

This sounds like a perfect read.

One of the worst natural disasters in American history, the 1896 New York heat wave killed almost 1,500 people in ten oppressively hot days. The heat coincided with a pitched presidential contest between William McKinley and the upstart Democrat William Jennings Bryan, who arrived in New York City at the height of the catastrophe. As historian Edward P. Kohn shows, Bryan’s hopes for the presidency began to flag amidst the abhorrent heat just as a bright young police commissioner named Theodore Roosevelt was scrambling to mitigate the dangerously high temperatures by hosing down streets and handing out ice to the poor.A vivid narrative that captures the birth of the progressive era, Hot Time in the Old Town revives the forgotten disaster that almost destroyed a great American

Will Fewer E-Book Sales Help The Print World?

From the book world.

But there are plenty of reasons for holiday anxiety, too, starting with a compressed shopping season, the result of Thanksgiving falling later than it has in a decade. Booksellers also have to contend with the absence of a blockbuster title to drive sales and fill stores, the way the Steve Jobs biography did two years ago. And they must compete with steep discounts on print books from Amazon. It is a grab bag of factors, any one of which could tilt the fortunes of retailers as the holiday book-buying season enters its final days.       

This is the time when publishers release their splashiest books and count on Christmas shoppers being much more willing to part with $25 for a weighty hardcover. The leveling off of e-book sales should help. The Association of American Publishers, which collects monthly data from about 1,200 publishers, said last month that e-book sales had been flat or in decline for most of 2013. In August, e-book sales were approximately $128 million, a 3 percent decline from August 2012.

This Is For The Real Weather Geek

This graphic wind portrayal is quite remarkable. It’s global in scope.  You can manipulate the map and the perspective you choose to look at using your cursor.

Just think how much more we know and can experience with modern technology.  You can use your cursor to go ‘more local’ and even locate the low pressure or high pressures forming…..awesome!!

Give this link a try, and then bookmark it!

Major Winter Storm Heading To Madison And Southern Wisconsin This Weekend

Madison and southern Wisconsin are about to experience winter this weekend.  The last shopping weekend before Christmas will be better spent making cookies and looking out at the wonderful winter scene all about us.

Tom Skilling from WGN posted this on Facebook minutes ago.


Democrats Win Big In Blue Colored Virginia

Took a few weeks……but the news is great.

Virginia GOP attorney general candidate Mark Obenshain will concede the race to Democratic state Sen. Mark Herring later Wednesday afternoon, a Republican source confirmed to POLITICO.

The decision gives Democrats their first clean sweep of the top five statewide offices in Virginia since 1969.

Herring won the Nov. 5 election with just 165 votes out of more than 2.2 million cast, and his vote lead was growing in the recount underway this week.

Wisconsin Job Growth Weak, Citizens Need Hope

As I drive around  Madison and look at parking lots since Thanksgiving I am mindful that it appears many are wary of spending money at this Christmas season.  There seems to me many open parking spaces, and when in the stores I see more people looking than carrying heavy packages.  That translates to a concern about the economic future.  That of course is not good news for merchants, and clearly not the mindset that shoppers want to again experience as we are about to close out one year and start a new one.

Wisconsin citizens wants to believe that better employment news and economic vitality is around the corner.  But there seems nothing credible from the statistics with which to have faith about any quick movement in employment numbers.  The news today was again dispiriting for those without a job.

Wisconsin gained 23,963 private-sector jobs in the 12 months from June 2012 to June 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — a 1.0% increase that ranks the state 37th among the 50 states in the pace of job creation over that time frame.

The state’s ranking slid from a revised rank of 32nd three months earlier, which covered the 12-month period through March 2012.

Wisconsin continued to trail the national rate of job creation, as it has for over two years, according to Wednesday’s data. The United States created private-sector jobs at a rate of 1.9% in the latest 12-month period, nearly double Wisconsin’s rate of 1.0%, the data show.

These numbers impact more than just the households with out a paycheck.  The lack of jobs at decent salaries trickles down and are felt at the local diners, hairs salons, grocery stores, along with every other type of merchant.  We all feel the impact of the jobless.

There are prayers for jobless people in church on Sunday morning, and local talks shows deal with the political impact on those who are elected to make choices that spur job growth.

As we close out 2013 and look forward there is a natural inclination to be positive and hopeful, look beyond the trials and hardships that are at hand and think of new and loftier goals that can be attained.  That is all fine and good in the general scope of things, but for far too many of our fellow citizens they are at the same spot this December as they were a year ago.  Jobless, wondering how to pay the mortgage, make plans for the kid’s education, and just keep their head financially above the water.

I am not sure there is any FDR type of politician in Wisconsin.  But if there were the mission would be clear.

This state needs someone with the ability to not only tackle the employment needs of the citizens, but also lift the spirit and hopes to again allow Wisconsinites the knowledge that things will again be better.  That jobs with living wages will be created and our communities can again be made whole.

We need more jobs in this state.  There is no doubt about that fact.  But we also need a strong dose of hope, and at this Christmas season that seems as hard to get as the creation of new places of employment.

This Is Where Real Change Starts In The Vatican

This was not lost on me this morning.  I suspect it is not lost on many conservative Catholics, either.

Wisconsin native Cardinal Burke (former La Crosse bishop) was taken off the Congregation for Bishops, which is the group most responsible for deciding who becomes a bishop in the future.  He is being replaced by the far more moderate Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington.  With this move, it’s a clear sign that Pope Francis wants a change in the ideological base with which the church chooses its Bishops.

This seems to be yet another step the Pope has taken to move the Catholic Church toward a more accepting platform of religious tolerance.  It’s been clear from the get-go that Pope Francis had a goal to change the environment within the Vatican.  An environment that had driven many away from the Catholic Church in recent years.

Why Were Traffic Lanes Leading To Nation’s Busiest Bridge Abruptly Closed? Could It Be Petty Politics Is Reason?

If you have not been following this story, then you are missing one of the most petty and utterly ridiculous political sideshows in the nation.

At the heart of the matter is exactly why traffic lanes leading to the nation’s busiest bridge were abruptly closed, and who was behind it.

Two appointees of Gov. Chris Christie’s who recently resigned amid a controversy over lane closures at the George Washington Bridge have retained private attorneys, according to correspondence from their attorneys reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Bill Baroni and David Wildstein, both former executives at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, have sought outside counsel amid an investigation into why traffic lanes leading to the nation’s busiest bridge were abruptly closed, the documents showed.

Word of the hirings comes one day before a raft of correspondence and documents related to the bridge controversy — and any possible connection to the Christie administration — were due to be delivered to a legislative inquiry of the state Assembly. The Democrat-led Transportation Committee subpoenaed a broad range of documents from people involved in the incident, including Messrs. Baroni and Wildstein and leadership of the authority, seeking more information about how the lanes were closed and why.

Some Democrats allege that the lanes were closed as retaliation after the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. –the borough at the mouth of the bridge—didn’t endorse Mr. Christie for reelection.