Hurricane Irma update:

With pounding winds of 130 miles per hour, Hurricane Irma swept over the Florida Keys on Sunday and headed toward southwest Florida after leaving a path of destruction across the Caribbean.

The extent of the damage in the Keys from the storm, which was upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane overnight, was not immediately apparent.”

“We don’t have the exact numbers on everyone who stayed in the Keys,” Gov. Rick Scott of Florida said in a television interview on Sunday morning, referring to a mandatory evacuation order that had been in place for several days. “I hope everyone listened.”

• Midday on Sunday, Miami was facing hurricane-force gusts of 70 to 90 miles per hour, the National Weather Service said. Winds at those speeds were expected to continue through the evening, according to Chris Fisher, a meteorologist with the agency.

• More than 1.3 million customers in Florida were without power Sunday morning, and power had been restored to nearly 200,000 customers, according to the electric company Florida Power & Light. Keys Energy Services, which supplies electricity to Key West and the lower Florida Keys, said that all of its 29,000 customers were without power.”

• At least 25 people have been confirmed dead in parts of the Caribbean affected by Irma. The hurricane made landfall in Cuba on Friday evening — the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the island since 1924. President Raúl Castro said the country’s power grid was seriously damaged. The newspaper Granma said there had been unprecedented flooding in parts of Havana.

• Florida officials have ordered more than 6.5 million residents to leave their homes, one of the largest emergency evacuations in American history. About 540,000 people were told to leave the Georgia coast. Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina have declared states of emergency. Here are our maps tracking the storm.”

• Gov. Rick Scott of Florida warned on Saturday night that the state could get as much as 18 inches of rain, with the Keys getting up to 25 inches. Southwest Florida could see a storm surge of 15 feet above ground level, and entire neighborhoods stretching northward from Naples to Tampa Bay could be submerged.

• Separately, Hurricane Jose, a Category 4 storm, was passing farther north of the Leeward Islands than initially predicted.”

As Irma hit the Florida Keys, the storm gathered intensity in Miami, tearing signs from their foundations, downing power lines, ripping trees from their roots and whipping the huge cranes that dot the Miami skyline around in precarious circles.”

“Water from Biscayne Bay was flooding streets throughout the city, making roads impassable. Across the metro Miami area, rivers and lakes were overflowing. Most buildings and houses were shrouded in darkness, streetlights were out, and police officers and National Guard troops were hunkered down like everyone else.

The storm was expected to batter the city for hours, and many people who had evacuated to hotels and other places of safety found themselves without air-conditioning but with windows shut tight, an atmosphere that quickly became claustrophobic.”

Follow me on Twitter and listen to the most important podcast in the world: 

Fascinating story here: 

Sometimes the true value of an invention isn’t obvious until people start using it.

Consider what happened to inventor Nate Ball and his powered ascender. About 15 years ago, Ball was an undergraduate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when the U.S. Army approached MIT with a request: Can somebody build a powered device that can pull somebody up a rope, like Batman does? Nate Ball takes a selfie from 120 feet in the air at the top of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

“We looked at each other and said, ‘That sounds awesome. We’d love to build that,’ ” Ball recalls.

The Army wanted the device for rescue operations, like lifting wounded soldiers or hauling someone out of the water. Ball’s idea was to build a battery-powered winch that someone could wear around their waist.

In 2005, he formed a company called Atlas Devices to work on the project, and eventually it paid off. “Twelve years later, with a lot of blood, sweat and tears along the way, Atlas Devices gets to build those powered ascenders,” Ball says.

Atlas Devices sells the ascenders to the Army, and the Army uses them in rescue operations, as expected. So do fire departments and other first responders.

But Ball also noticed that utility companies started buying them, and when he contacted them to ask why, they explained they were using the ascender to install live power lines called conductors.”

 

That’s SENATOR Rock to you:

The diversity cultists are unhappy that the CIA director doesn’t think they’re a priority:

In early summer, Judy and Dennis Shepard bought plane tickets to give a speech to the workforce at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The Shepards in 1998 had founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation in honor of their late son — a 21-year-old college freshman who was viciously attacked and left tied to a fence before he was brought to a hospital where he died of his injuries. One of the most notorious anti-gay acts of violence in U.S. history, his death led to some of the country’s first federal hate crime laws.

The Shepards had been invited to the CIA to talk about diversity and LGBTQ rights, joining a long line of guest speakers at the covert overseas spy agency including lawmakers, former officials, authors, and celebrities.

The schedule was set, and the details arranged, but in the 11th hour, the senior leadership shut down the event. The seventh floor, where the director’s office sits, had the Shepards’ speech canceled, questioning what value it would bring to the CIA mission…

The cancellation, now under review by the CIA’s Office of General Counsel (?????????,) according to a second source, left employees disheartened — particularly those invested in the diversity reforms that were emphasized during the tenure of John Brennan, the former CIA director…

…For those who have worked inside the agency, the backtracking on diversity represents a threat to the workforce and national security, according to Nada Bakos, a former CIA analyst who helped track high-level terrorist targets like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.”

But her career as a Greedy Grifter is just getting started:

You should literally have aerial refueling capability before everything else: 

On the campaign trail and since his election victory, President Donald Trump’s “shoot-from-the-hip” speaking style has made for a number of controversial, dubious, and outright false statements about a number of U.S. military protects. Now, it appears that the U.S. Air Force is slashing key requirements, including mid-air refueling, for its new presidential aircraft, the future Air Force Ones, to try and make good on his claim about cutting the cost of the program by $1 billion.

Defense One’s Marcus Weisgerber, who has been following this ongoing saga uncovered the new details, as the Air Force tries to match Trump’s boast that he trimmed $1 billion from the program’s still unknown final price tag after an hour of negotiations with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg. The president made the comments during a rally in Florida in February 2017 and no one had been able to definitely explain where the specific figure came from…

…The cost-cutting is continuing and most notably has resulted in plans to strip the aerial refueling capability requirement, which is a feature on the existing VC-25As that presently perform the presidential airlift mission, from the new Air Force Ones. The Air Force downplayed the significance of this decision to Defense One, while the Muilenburg’s briefing pointed out that the standard 787-8i had the range to reach all by some parts of Asia from Washington, D.C.

Weisgerber’s sources added that it wasn’t a major problem since “the current aircraft have never made use of that capability.” But that claim appears to be false.”

Britain appears to be adapting to barbarism quite nicely:

I’d love to dive this sometime:

The 15,000-ton armored cruiser U.S.S. San Diego, the only major United States Navy warship lost by the United States during World War I, lies in a watery grave about 10 miles off Fire Island, N.Y., where for nearly a century the corroding hulk has kept the secret of why it sunk.

Six sailors died when the ship capsized and came to a rest 110 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean about 28 minutes after an explosion ripped a hole in its hull well below the water line.

Along with the liner Oregon, which was lost in a collision in 1886, the wreck of the San Diego is among the most popular sites for recreational divers on Long Island because of its proximity to the shore, its tallest parts are only 66 feet deep and, although the ship is upside down, its guns and other distinguishing features are largely intact.

“It’s a nice piece of history,” said Tom McCarthy of East Coast Wreck Diving in Freeport, N.Y., who estimates he has visited the wreck several hundred times.

The San Diego was engaged in guarding European-bound convoys through submarine-infested waters during the first leg of their voyage from the East Coast. The 503-foot-long cruiser was en route from Portsmouth, N.H., to New York when it was sunk, it is assumed, by a floating German mine or a torpedo fired from a U-boat.

Now the Navy hopes to determine the cause and the condition of the wreck in time for the 100th anniversary of the July 19, 1918 tragedy.”

Can you smoke around that thing?:

The ass slap is no good…But… “lingering hugs???”: 

WASHINGTON  —  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Friday called out Navy leadership for its slow response to alleged drunken sexual misconduct at a Pentagon Christmas party involving an aide to service’s top officer, demanding an independent review of the case by the Department of Defense Inspector General.

Navy Cdr. Chris Servello, who had been Adm. John Richardson’s spokesman, was accused by junior officers and a civilian of sexual misconduct while he wore a Santa Claus outfit at an office Christmas party inside the Pentagon in 2016, USA TODAY reported Thursday. Servello was allowed to keep his post for nine months despite written warnings from an investigator that he was a sexual predator, and the recommendation that he be reassigned immediately to a post where he didn’t supervise other officers, an investigation by the paper found…

…Documents show investigators believed that Servello had used his professional reputation as leverage to develop sexual relationships with younger officers. At the Christmas party, he was accused of slapping a civilian on the buttocks, a gesture she told investigators humiliating. A junior officer also accused him of giving her lingering, unwelcome hugs. After the party, he made advances toward another officer that prompted one of her colleagues to intercede.”

HARD PASS:

ANDERSON, Calif. — A Northern California man arriving home from work this week discovered a naked woman he did not know asleep in his bed, police said.

The unidentified man told officers the strange saga started Tuesday when he found a parcel ripped open on the porch of his home in the small farming city of Anderson.”

Shasta County Sheriff’s Office

A utility knife that he had last seen inside in the home was lying on the porch, Anderson police said in a statement.

The man went inside and found a sandwich with bite taken and an open beer. A pack of cigarettes was missing and an empty beer bottle sat nearby.

Then he noticed that someone had recently showered in the bathroom and strange clothes strewn about, the statement said…

…Police arrested Michelle Watkins, 33, of Junction City, a small town about 65 miles from where she was arrested.”

Hey, football is on. @BKactual