Probably the worst or at least one of the worst choices for NOAA jefe

White House pick to lead NOAA withdraws nomination, citing health concerns

Barry Myers’ nomination never got to a floor vote

Barry Lee Myers participates in his Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee confirmation hearing to become administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Nov. 29, 2017. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

November 20 at 11:31 PM

Barry Myers, President Trump’s controversial nominee to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has withdrawn from consideration due to health concerns, an administration official confirmed Wednesday evening.

Myers’ nomination had languished in the Senate since it was first announced in November 2017, due in part to conflict of interest concerns regarding his family’s continued ownership stake in AccuWeather, the private weather forecasting company he led until stepping down on Jan. 1.

Myers’ decision to withdraw his nomination from consideration was first reported by the Washington Times. Myers told the Times that he had undergone surgery and chemotherapy treatments for cancer and wrote to the White House this week asking that his nomination be withdrawn.

Before his nomination, Myers had served as the CEO of AccuWeather since 2007. AccuWeather has had a history of advocating for expanding the role of private forecasting companies at the expense of the taxpayer-funded National Weather Service, which is part of NOAA. Concerns had also been raised regarding AccuWeather’s record of sexual harassment lawsuits and settlements during Myers’ time at the company.

We’re living through Earth’s second-hottest year, NOAA finds

Global land and ocean temperature departures from average during October 2019. (NOAA)

November 19 at 8:15 PM

This year is increasingly likely to be the planet’s second- or third-warmest calendar year on record since modern temperature data collection began in 1880, according to data released this week by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This reflects the growing influence of long-term, human-caused global warming and is especially noteworthy, as there was an absence of a strong El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean this year. Such events are typically associated with the hottest years, since they boost global ocean temperatures and add large amounts of heat to the atmosphere across the Pacific Ocean, the world’s largest.

According to a new report released Monday, there’s about an 85 percent chance that the year will wind up ranking as the second-warmest in NOAA’s data set, with a possibility that it slips to No. 3. Overall, though, it’s virtually certain (greater than a 99 percent chance) that 2019 will wind up being a top-five-warmest year for the globe.

NOAA found the average global land and ocean surface temperature for October was 1.76 degrees (0.98 degrees Celsius) above the 20th-century average, 0.11 of a degree shy of the record warm October set in 2015.

Remarkably, the 10 warmest Octobers have occurred since 2003, and the top-five warmest such months have taken place since 2015.

October 2019 was the 43rd-straight October to be warmer than the 20th-century average, and the 418th straight warmer-than-average month. This means anyone younger than 34 has not lived through a cooler-than-average year from a global standpoint.

So far this year, global land and ocean temperatures have come in at 1.69 degrees (0.94 Celsius) above the 20th-century average, 0.16 of a degree cooler than the record warmest year-to-date, set in 2016, NOAA found.

Other agencies that track global temperatures may rank 2019 slightly differently than NOAA will, although their overall data is likely to be similar. NASA, for example, interpolates temperatures across the data-sparse Arctic by assuming the temperatures regionwide are similar to their closest observation location. NOAA, on the other hand, leaves parts of the Arctic out of its data.

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Great news for Chile! ~ AL JAZEERA

Chile to hold referendum on new constitution

In a win for protesters, government agrees for vote to be held in April 2020 on replacing the Pinochet-era constitution.

A new constitution has been one of the key demands of protesters [Jorge Silva/Reuters]
A new constitution has been one of the key demands of protesters [Jorge Silva/Reuters]



Chile has said it will stage a referendum to replace the country’s dictatorship-era constitution next year, conceding to a key demand of protesters after nearly a month of violent civil unrest.

The current charter, in force since 1980 and enacted by the military government of Augusto Pinochet, has been amended numerous times in the years since.


However, it does not establish the state’s responsibility to provide education and healthcare, two demands made by the millions of Chileans who have taken to the streets.

Legislators in Chile’s National Congress agreed on Friday to hold the plebiscite in April 2020 after hours of negotiations between the governing coalition and opposition parties.

“This agreement is a first step, but it is a historic and fundamental first step to start building our new social pact, and in this, the citizenry will have a leading role,” said Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel.

The referendum will ask voters whether the constitution should be replaced and if so, how a new charter should be drafted, Senate President Jaime Quintana said.

It will propose three different models for a body to devise a new constitution, made up of either fully elected representatives, political appointees or an equal mix of both.

If elections to the body are needed, they will be held in October 2020 to coincide with regional and municipal ballots.

“We are happy to have been able to participate in an agreement that defeats violence,” said Jacqueline van Rysselberghe, leader of the right-wing Independent Democratic Union, the largest party in President Sebastian Pinera’s governing coalition.

Social fractures

The announcement came as thousands took to the streets on Thursday to mark a year since Camilo Catrillanca, a young indigenous man, was shot dead by police in Ercilla, a town south of Santiago.

The unrest that began on October 18 with protests against a rise in rush-hour metro fares has mushroomed into a broader outcry against the status quo, with burning, looting and daily confrontations between demonstrators and police.

Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman, reporting from the capital Santiago on Thursday, said there were further clashes between protesters and riot police who were using pepper spray and water cannon as demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails.

Chile protests
There have been frequent clashes between police and demonstrators during the almost-four-week protests [Goran Tomasevic/Reuters]


The crisis is Chile’s biggest since its return to democracy in 1990, leaving 20 dead – five at the hands of state forces – and more than 1,000 injured.

Security forces have been accused of torturing protesters, with a public prosecutor announcing his intent to investigate 14 police officers over abuse claims.

Protesters cite low wages, high costs for education and healthcare and a yawning gap between rich and poor in a country dominated politically and economically by a few elite families.


Chile’s Pinera fends off police abuse claims amid fresh clashes

Demonstrators have demanded greater social reform from the government led by Pinera, who has announced several measures in a bid to appease the public mood.

After weeks of sometimes violent demonstrations, most polls show the protest movement is supported by 75 percent of Chileans.

A slightly larger number – 87 percent, according to a survey by pollster Cadem published this month – say they favour the protesters’ demand for constitutional reforms.

A few days after Pinera became president last year, his government announced it would not allow the consideration of a bill to amend the constitution that his socialist predecessor Michelle Bachelet had submitted to Congress.




Russell Chatham’s Reflections On Role Of Artist


Pale Winter Moonrise by Russell Chatham
Pale Winter Moonrise by Russell Chatham
In Jackson Hole, the immutable muse for generations of visual artists has been the Tetons. In Big Sky, that landmark is Lone Peak and in Bozeman, the Bridgers.
Just to the east, painter, writer, restaurateur, and incorrigibly-addicted angler Russell Chatham became legend for his association with a different topographical feature, Paradise Valley.
We all know of Paradise Valley for the Yellowstone River that runs through it from Yellowstone National Park to Livingston and then angles to an eventual rendezvous with the Missouri.
A lot of folks also have treated themselves to a sojourn at Chico Hot Springs before moseying into Livingston where Chatham for decades was a social fixture and held court at his signature restaurant.
Scores of residents throughout Greater Yellowstone own original Chatham oils and high-end lithographs, displaying them next to priceless works by French Impressionists and treasured western artists like Bierstadt, Moran, Rungius and Catlin. Some of the notable private collectors in the region and beyond include Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Ted Turner, Jessica Lange, Margot Kidder, Jack Nicholson, Tom Brokaw, Jeff Bridges and Harrison Ford.
Chatham’s artistic life force was his grandfather, the great California muralist Gottardo Piazzoni (1872-1945).  A few years ago, Chatham moved back to his childhood homeland in northern California and recommenced painting where his extraordinary career with fishing and standing behind the easel began.
I once asked one of Chatham’s closest friends William Randolph Hearst III to interpret Chatham. “You must understand that ‘Russell The Personality’ is a wholly separate character from the life of Russell Chatham the painter, though at the same time they are inseparable. No matter what he does, his adventure with it becomes larger than life,” Hearst said.
“As good a painter as he is,” Hearst added, “Russell’s an equally wonderful storyteller and devoted friend, an absolutely superb fisherman who might be among the best on the planet, an intrepid restaurant owner, gourmet cook, wine aficionado, writer, boutique book publisher and general roustabout.”
If any contemporary landscape painter qualified as a genuine rock star in the northern Rockies, it was Chatham, now a late septuagenarian.
Starting in the 1960s, he was among a group of artists who went to Paradise Valley to escape the rat race, to fish, and go about their own media adventures without being hassled.
Those figures included Chatham, writers Jim Harrison, Tom McGuane, the late William Hjortsberg, Richard Brautigan, actors Peter Fonda, Jeff Bridges, Kidder, Warren Oates, Nicholson, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, Sam Waterston, singer Jimmy Buffett, director Sam Peckinpah and others.
Chatham’s style of painting landscapes, known for its fleeting, muted, tonal bands of horizontal color, summons up moods of introspection rather than blushes of superficial sanguine cheeriness.
They evoke the feeling you get when you realize you are getting older and the sensation hits home when you take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror, thinking about the kind of life you’ve lead.
When I asked Chatham to ponder that feeling, he shared this thought: “Early on, I was never concerned about having a career, so I didn’t have one. And now nothing could interest me less. But I think we all have a programmed tape running inside us, and most of mine is now stored on the right hand side of the cassette.  I finally feel I know enough to paint what I could only dream about in my twenties.  People say it’s time to slow down, relax, go fishing.  Well, I took the first forty years of my life off and went fishing, and now my tape is telling me to finish what I was put on earth to do.  Before, time didn’t matter. Now it does.”
Given the times, he still feels compelled to act upon a conviction he stated earlier in his life about the role of artist: “The artist does not simply hold a mirror to society. If the world now is greedy, the artist must be generous.  If there is war and hate, he must be peaceful and loving.  If the world is insane, he must offer sanity, and if the world is becoming a void, he must fill it with his soul.”
Chatham didn’t say it, but one could add that the artist’s challenge is really no different from the obligation of the viewer. If painting represents a near-religious experience for some, perhaps it’s not a bad thing to act on those kindly impulses.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If it isn’t obvious, Chatham loves water. Here are a few of his interpretations of some classic Western rivers.
Winter On The South Fork Of Deep Creek, lithograph, by Russell Chatham
Winter On The South Fork Of Deep Creek, lithograph, by Russell Chatham
Summer Twilight, Colorado River, lithograph, by Russell Chatham
Summer Twilight, Colorado River, lithograph, by Russell Chatham
Winter Dawn On The South Platte River, lithograph, by Russell Chatham
Winter Dawn On The South Platte River, lithograph, by Russell Chatham


‘You’re an Artist. That’s What You Do.’

Russell Chatham at his studio in Marin County, California. ”I paint everything from memory,” he says.

Russell Chatham at his studio in Marin County, California. ”I paint everything from memory,” he says.
In what would be his final interview, the famed Marin County–based landscape painter Russell Chatham tells Alta publisher Will Hearst where he finds inspiration, what it’s like to work on commission, and why Gauguin brought him to tears.

UPDATE: It was with sadness that we learned Russell Chatham passed away on November 10, 2019. This was his final interview.

Landscapes are notoriously easy to paint but exceedingly difficult to paint well. For Russell Chatham, the challenge was impossible to resist. There was no other way. Chatham is the grandson of San Francisco muralist Gottardo Piazzoni, and before he turned 20, he had found his calling in painting nature.

In a career that has spanned half a century, Chatham became famous for capturing Montana’s rugged vistas and California’s golden hillsides through an approach that seems to combine a muted, idealized reality and the stuff of dreams. His collectors include Hollywood names like Jessica Lange, Jack Nicholson, and Robert Redford. Along the way, he was married three times, and made a fortune from his paintings, book publishing, and running a restaurant—only to lose it all. Chatham steadfastly believed in following one’s heart.

In what would be the artist’s final interview, Alta editor and publisher Will Hearst sat down with Chatham as he reflected on the difficulties he endured as a young painter and how he’s depended on the love and support of the women in his life. (Disclosure: Hearst is a collector of Chatham’s paintings.)

WILL HEARST:As a little boy, did you think, “I like painting” or “This is what I want to do with my life”?

RUSSELL CHATHAM:When I was eight or nine, it was clear painting was a big deal to me, and so I did it on my own, and all through school I stayed at it relentlessly…through my teen years and through my 20s.