Notebook, 2 February 2011: Storms . . .

“Before getting in your car, ask yourself if getting to your destination is worth risking your life.”

In case you’re wondering, that’s the entire continental United States under those storm clouds.

The Groundhog Day Monster Storm

After cleaning off yesterday’s 5 inches of snow last night, which was light and fluffy, we’ve got 6 inches today of wet and heavy. Thank god I shoveled off my roof, and the storm is just beginning.

* * *

Cyclone Yasi

Projected path of Cyclone Yasi

bears down on northeastern Australia with winds up to 186 MPH. It just made landfall a little while ago.

The surface temperature of the Pacific Ocean in that region is 1.2ºC above normal. Just one degree and some change.

* * *

Tahrir Square Burns . . .

Finally, in Egypt, things have gotten out of hand. What Egyptian news outlets (and they are all official outlets) characterize as “pro-stability” demonstrators, have been organized and armed with Molotov Cocktails are trying to force their way into Tahrir Square. Stones are being thrown, Army vehicles are trying to keep the two groups apart, but they’re the target of the Molotov’s.

Pro-Mubarak supporters are riding into town on horses and camels. Al-Jazeera reports that 100 people are injured. News crews are being attacked for the first time. This has gotten ugly. Anderson Cooper reports that Molotov Cocktails have climbed onto rooftops and are throwing Molotov Cocktails into the anti-regime crowd. CNN video shows multiple fires burning. Cooper says that other than trying to position some trucks between the groups, Fire hoses are being sprayed into one crowd or another.

Cut the military aid to Egypt now. Send them a big message.

UPDATE: One can hear what I think is gunfire on CNN.

UPDATE: Cooper reports that medical facilities have been set up—which only pro-Mubarak forces have access to.

UPDATE: I’ve seen this pointed out only once before, and never stated quite this way: The hallmark of the developed nation is the peaceful transfer of power to the domestic political opposition. This isn’t seen in the Middle East, except for Israel. Neither has this been seen in either China or Russia.

That’s the prize, right there.

UPDATE: What can President Obama say? How harsh can he be and what can he say about consequences? Not much. Not unless he is willing to field a sizable military force to seize and hold the Suez Canal. The bottom line is that consequences can work both ways.

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