". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, December 28, 2015

Weather! New Orleans Gets Floods for New Year - Cooler in Cuba

There appear to be more people actually shopping, i.e. buying, today than all the weeks before Christmas.  It's also getting colder here by the hour, and damper and more windy, while the sky is becoming ever more overcast and lowering. Coincidence?  Of course, huge numbers of these huge numbers of people cloggin the streets, stores and sidewalks are tourists from elsewheres, who travel in family packs including huge strollers, etc.  And then those others from out of town, riding the stupid Citibikes, who -- yes, in fact they do do this! -- yell at one to get off the sidewalk because you're in the way of their biking.  I so appreciated these people while chasing around for 4 hours outside accomplishing our necessary errands in preparation for leaving.

By tonight and through tomorrow morning it's supposed to be serious rain and wind again, sleet and snow further north.  If so, this will be the first snow upstate this year.  Perhaps this is the fallout on this side of the country from the snow mess that descended upon the Midwest today? Temps and rain falling all the way down the East Coast this week, and down into Cuba as well.  And here I was thinking I'd have to be preparing for near ninety degrees.  Better take a small umbrella.

Christmas weekend was a terrible weather weekend for the south and Texas, with tornadoes killing people in one way and another. Portales, New Mexico, had 7 foot snow drifts!

Flooding already in Missouri, Mississippi River overflowing at St. Louis, Dec. 28, 2015, and all through Pulaski County ( though the same name, not the same place where the KKK was organized in December 25, 1865 , which is in Tennessee, thus Bedford Forrest's nearly immediate involvement).

Even before the big snows of this week melt, the Mississippi River is already filling over its present banks, threatening flooding all the way down from St. Louis and into New Orleans and below.  From the Weather Underground:
On January 20, the Mississippi flood crest is expected to arrive in New Orleans, bringing the river to its 17-foot flood stage in the city, just 3 feet below the tops of the levees. In past years, though, when the river has been forecast to rise to 17 feet in the city, the Army Corps of Engineers has opened up the Bonnet Carre Spillway in St. Charles Parish, which diverts water into Lake Pontchartrain and keeps the river from reaching flood stage in New Orleans. According to a December 25 article by Mark Schleifstein of, this option will be discussed on Monday at an Army Corps flood "flood fight" meeting, along with the less likely possibility of opening the Morganza Floodway in Pointe Coupee Parish, which would divert water down the Atchafalaya River. Opening this spillway has a considerably higher cost than opening the Bonnet Carre Spillway, due to the large amount of agricultural lands that would be flooded below the Morganza Spillway. The Corps also has the option of increasing the flow of Mississippi River water into the Atchafalaya at the Old River Control Structure in Concordia Parish. Operating the Old River Control Structure in this way always makes me nervous, as I explained in my 2011 blog post, America's Achilles' heel: the Mississippi River's Old River Control Structure. Both the Bonnet Carre Spillway and Morganza Floodway were forced to open in May 2011, due to the highest flood crests ever observed on the Lower Mississippi. This flood cost over $2 billion; I expect the damage from the December 2015 - January 2016 Mississippi River flood will run into the hundreds of millions.

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