Avocado Storm at Sea

The Wednesday Politics Thread is Rapidly Intensifying

The January 6 Committee hearing scheduled for today has been postponed in light of Hurricane Ian bearing down on Florida, so nothing to do but all of us just pretend there was an awfully insightful writeup about it that I regretfully had to discard.

In the meantime, gaze upon the shitstorm that is bearing down on Trump as he can’t make a deal even to get a document-review vendor contract with him in the special master case that’s looking to be as embarrassing as it is useless to him in helping navigate his overall predicament. Turns out authority still has a whole lot of ball-kicking power itself, and Trump doesn’t have the staff to protect him anymore.

Ian makes a break toward Florida; catastrophic rains expected

Hurricane warnings were extended southward along Florida’s southern Gulf Coast late Tuesday afternoon, encompassing the Naples area and Marco Island, as category 3 Hurricane Ian steadily intensified. An eastward jog in Ian’s track on Tuesday has resulted in some major shifts in where and when Ian could make landfall. Regardless of its landfall point, Ian will bring destructive hurricane impacts to large parts of Florida, including torrential rains and flooding, dangerous storm surge, and high winds.

Ian was packing top sustained winds of 120 mph as of 8 p.m. Tuesday. Reconnaissance aircraft found that its central pressure had dropped to 947 millibars. Aircraft and radar observations on Tuesday evening showed that Ian appeared to be undergoing an eyewall replacement cycle (ERC), with an outer eyewall of larger diameter competing with the inner eyewall for dominance. The end result of this process is likely to be that the inner eyewall collapses, the peak winds of the hurricane decrease, and the area covered by hurricane-force winds expands, thereby increasing the storm surge potential of the hurricane.

Yale Climate Connections [archive]

Efforts to restore power in Cuba are underway after Hurricane Ian triggered an island-wide blackout

The entirety of Cuba lost power after Ian made landfall as a Category 3 storm just southwest of La Coloma in the Pinar del Rio province early Tuesday morning.

Cuban officials said they are hoping to begin restoring power to the country of 11 million people late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

The country’s state-run National Electric System turned off power in the capital Havana to avoid electrocutions, deaths and property damage until the weather improved. However, the nationwide blackouts were caused by the storm, rather than planned.

CNN [archive]

A New Shot Guards Against H.I.V., but Access for Africans Is Uncertain

Talk of PrEP — and the promise of the long-acting, injectable version — dominated the global AIDS conference, an annual gathering of researchers, policymakers and activists, held in Montreal last month. The rate of H.I.V. infections has plateaued in recent years, at about 1.5 million new infections a year, and injectable PrEP is the first promising new H.I.V. prevention technology in a long time.

“This is the best chance we’ve ever had, in probably the entire history of the AIDS pandemic, to reimagine prevention and to do it with equity and with impact,” said Mitchell Warren, executive director of the H.I.V. prevention advocacy organization AVAC. “History will judge us very harshly if in five or 10 years, we go back to AIDS conferences and report on low uptake, and if we don’t see the rate of new infections begin to truly be pulled down.”

The New York Times [archive]

It Was O.K. to Show This Painting in China a Decade Ago. Now It Has Been Censored

An abstract painting by a Chinese artist, which was reportedly based on a photograph of World War II Japanese Kamikaze pilots, has been taken down from an exhibition in Beijing after visitors reported the work to the police.

The painting in question was Six Men (2008) by Beijing-based artist Li Songsong, which was on display in the exhibition “Common Ground,” at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art.

After Six Men was taken down, social media users dug into some of Li’s other works, inspired by other controversial historic photographs, such as one showing Nazi leader Adolf Hitler feeding a dog.

The UCCA exhibition subsequently ended on August 7, a week before originally planned, and the whole museum is currently closed, according to Art Asia Pacific. Even the online details of the exhibition, such as press releases, appear to have been scrubbed from the Beijing art center’s website

ArtNet News [archive]

Hong Kong government’s dinosaur mascot apologises for cruel joke about trans sex worker

Ah Tak, a dinosaur mascot commissioned by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) to be Hong Kong’s “keep clean ambassador”, landed itself in trouble on Friday (23 September), when the team posted on Facebook caricatures of a recent incident involving a trans woman.

A not-for-profit organisation that supports trans sex workers in Hong Kong posted on Facebook to air its outrage over the incident.

It stated: “Regarding this incident, we are glad that the victim landed safely, and we are outraged that there are still sex workers who are forced to risk their lives to climb the wall and escape.

“In the final analysis, it all stems from the extremely frequent anti-pornography actions, which make sex workers live in fear.”

PinkNews [archive]

Welcome to Wednesday Politicados, and stay safe Florida friends; even though I put off finishing this to the last minute, any storm news is bound to be somewhat stale by now. Be mindful of assigning blame for any massive gas leaks; you can never be sure when smelt it/dealt it rules apply. You can be sure that The McSquirrel Rule remains in effect however, so aim to be as sweet as this pumpkin spice whipped cream I got (or at least try to pair well with morning coffee).

Soul Superstar Ben E. King, born this day 1938