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This GOES East satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Willa in the eastern Pacific, on a path toward Mexico's Pacific coast on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (NOAA via AP)

This GOES East satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Willa in the eastern Pacific, on a path toward Mexico's Pacific coast on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (NOAA via AP)

Category 5 Hurricane Willa threatens Mexico’s Pacific coast

Monday, October 22

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Willa grew into a potentially catastrophic Category 5 storm and swept toward Mexico’s Pacific coast with winds of 160 mph (260 kph) Monday, threatening a stretch of high-rise resort hotels, surfing beaches and fishing villages.

The hurricane was expected to pass over or near the Islas Marias — a set of islands about 60 miles offshore that include a nature preserve and a federal prison — early Tuesday, then blow ashore in the afternoon or the evening somewhere along a 140-mile (220-kilometer) section extending from the resort town of Mazatlan to San Blas.

It was projected to weaken somewhat before hitting land but was still expected to be extremely dangerous.

The governments of Sinaloa and Nayarit states ordered coastal region schools to close and began preparing emergency shelters.

Mazatlan, with a metropolitan-area population of about 500,000, is a popular vacation spot. It is closer to the U.S. than most other Pacific resorts and home to a large number of American and Canadian expatriates.

The hurricane’s projected track also included Esquinapa, a town a few miles inland with almost 60,000 people in and around it.

As of midday Monday, Willa was centered about 135 miles (215 kilometers) south-southwest of Cabo Corrientes and was moving at 7 mph (11 kph).

Hurricane-force winds extended 30 miles (45 kilometers) from the storm’s center, and tropical storm-force winds were up to 105 miles (1650 kilometers) out.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that Willa could bring 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 centimeters) of rain — with up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) in some places — to parts of Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states, with flash flooding and landslides possible in mountainous areas.

Farther to the south, Tropical Storm Vicente weakened but was still expected to produce heavy rainfall and flooding over parts of southern and southwestern Mexico.

Persistent cold weather for October may be accompanied by storms, snow in northeastern US

Temperatures will average 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit below normal this week, with AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures dipping into the teens, 20s and 30s at times. The pattern will bring snow showers over the Great Lakes and and may bring steady snow in parts of the central and northern Appalachians and perhaps closer to the coast.

AccuWeather Global Weather Center – October 22, 2018 – With the exception of a day here and there, the overall weather pattern will remain chilly in the northeastern United States with opportunities for snow through the end of October.

Typical highs in late October range from the upper 40s F in northern Maine to near 60 F in New York City and the middle 60s F in southeastern Virginia. Temperatures much of this week will average 10-15 degrees Fahrenheit below normal. With extensive cloud cover and gusty winds, AccuWeather RealFeel Temperatures will dip into the teens, 20s and 30s at times.

The pattern will bring snow showers over the Great Lakes and and may bring steady snow in parts of the central and northern Appalachians and perhaps closer to the coast, depending on the formation, track and strength of two storms.

The most significant blast of chilly air so far this season brought snow showers for the first time this autumn to many areas from the Upper Midwest to the interior Northeast this past weekend.

Much of the region will get a little break from the harsh cold, wind, rain and snow showers on Monday. After a cold start, temperatures will moderate in the afternoon.”

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Debris from Halley’s Comet to spark Orionid meteor shower this weekend

The meteor shower will be visible across the globe with mainly clear skies expected across much of Europe, while clouds interfere with viewing over much of Asia. Mainly clear conditions are on tap for a large area of North America on Sunday night.

AccuWeather Global Weather Center – October 18, 2018 – Cloud-free conditions will allow much of the United States to see this weekend’s Orionid meteor shower, the first major shower of the fall.

The Orionids will peak on Sunday night and into early Monday morning, but stargazers should also be able to see some meteors on both Friday night and Saturday night leading up to the shower’s peak, weather permitting.

“Activity is expected to be a little higher this year than in years past with 20 to 25 meteors per hour, but bright moonlight will be an issue,” AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said.

The nearly full moon will be shining brightly in the sky for most of the night, making it harder to see some of the dimmer meteors, but it will not ruin the celestial show completely.

Many people heading out to spot some shooting stars this weekend are in luck as mainly clear conditions are on tap for a large area of North America on Sunday night.

This includes cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, New York City, St. Louis, Denver and Seattle. However, residents of these cities may want to head out to a darker area as light pollution from the city will greatly reduce the number of meteors visible to the naked eye.

Meanwhile, those in the Midwest and south-central U.S. will be facing cloudy conditions on Sunday night that obscure the shower for most of the night.

Mostly cloudy weather will also lead to poor viewing conditions across much of Alaska as a large storm system spins over the region, while partly cloudy weather is expected in Hawaii.

The meteor shower will be visible across the globe with mainly clear skies expected across much of Europe, while clouds interfere with viewing over much of Asia.

Progressives Need to Be Brave Enough to Fail

I don’t believe that we’re going to create real change through the compromises and decorum of so-called moderates.

By Norah Vawter | October 16, 2018

As the 2018 midterms approach, we’re living in a moment when progressive and even leftist ideas — and unabashed, unapologetic idealism — can be cool.

Progressive candidates have won congressional or gubernatorial primaries by ardently supporting so-called radical policies like Medicare for All, free college tuition, ambitious plans to safeguard our climate, and calls to abolish ICE. They’ve staged dramatic upsets across the country, unseating incumbents and beating out centrist challengers, and have also done well in down-ballot state legislature races.

They’re proving you don’t have to go to the center. If you believe in your heart that health is a fundamental human right, that every American should have health insurance, and that the government should pay for it, you can say that.

You can scream it from the rooftops.

I’m not endorsing any specific candidate. But I’m excited about this progressive wave.

These progressives are young, diverse, and idealistic. Record numbers of people of color, women, and LGBT candidates are running for national office.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna Pressley of Boston, both first-time congressional candidates, unseated 10-term congressmen in their primaries and will almost definitely win seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Also watch out for Andrew Gillum, Stacy Abrams, and Christine Hallquist, who could be the first black governors of Florida and Georgia, and the first openly transgender governor of Vermont, respectively; and Beto O’Rourke, running for Ted Cruz’s Senate seat in Texas.

Even if these candidates don’t win, their campaigns have been historic. If November isn’t kind to progressives, I don’t think we should brush this wave aside.

Why? Because I don’t think centrist politics works.

Despite the prevailing wisdom that moderates “get things done” by working across the aisle, being “polite,” or showing “decorum,” I just don’t buy it. Centrists keep failing.

Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump. John McCain gave great speeches but never lived up to his “maverick” brand. And Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court with the votes of moderate Democrat Joe Manchin and moderate Republican Susan Collins — two so-called “independent” voices who could have saved us from a far-right justice who’s been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by multiple women.

Yeah, I’m pretty down on moderates right now. I’m more interested in my representatives taking stands, taking risks, and reaching for the extraordinary, rather than making endless compromises and settling for “good enough.”

Jahana Hayes, running for the House in Connecticut — on a platform that includes single payer health care and an assault weapons ban — summed up the mentality of being bold. “You have to be willing to lose,” she said. “Everyone says, ‘You’re not taking the right path,’ but I was just very firm that I don’t want to just step into someone else’s footprints: I want to create new footprints.”

Is this progressive wave a reaction to Trump, or to establishment Democrats who have often been critical of these leftists? Is it a continuation of Bernie Sanders’ momentum? Yes, yes, and yes.

But I believe it’s so much more.

In this time of chaos and fear, people are speaking up, full of indignation and anger, but also full of hope. Right now, hope is a radical idea. And I think that policies like single-payer health care and abolishing ICE (or taking other dramatic measures to make immigration humane) represent a belief in radical kindness, understanding, and empathy.

I believe that our country will be better for making kinder choices. And I don’t believe that we’re going to create real change through the compromises and decorum of the moderates.

Let’s be brave enough to fail.

Norah Vawter is a freelance writer living in Northern Virginia. Distributed by

Elizabeth Warren Wades into Sensitive Territory on Identity

Trump’s “Pocahontas” slur is obviously racist. But Warren’s approach to claiming Native identity bothers some Native Americans, too.

By Jill Richardson | October 17, 2018

Elizabeth Warren recently released DNA results as evidence she has a Native American ancestor. Trump, meanwhile, has been referring to Warren as “Pocahontas” to ridicule that claim.

The two show useful examples of different kinds of racism.

Trump’s racism is obvious. He’s using the name Pocahontas as a racial slur. He means to target Warren, but he doesn’t mind being hurtful to Native Americans either.

Trump doesn’t seem to pay much of a price for saying this. His base apparently loves it, and the rest of us seem too numb to be shocked anymore. Trump’s doing exactly what we expect him to do.

Warren’s gotten some criticism too, though.

She’s a progressive Democrat, and her base holds her to a higher standard. They would never vote for Trump anyway, and Warren might run for president in 2020. Warren’s base wants to vote for someone who reflects their values.

But while liberals (specifically, white liberals) usually abhor overt racism, many still practice more subtle forms of it. It’s less obvious than when people use racial slurs or clearly say they do not like a specific ethnic group.

It’s when a white person treats a person of color as if they’re exotic, or fetishizes them. Or when a white person doesn’t notice or care about racial dynamics and inequality because they don’t have to. Or when a white person doesn’t believe a person of color has faced racism just because the white person didn’t see it and has never experienced it themselves.

In this case, Warren is stepping into a sensitive issue. For one thing, what makes someone a Native American?

Do you have to be raised within the culture of your tribe? How can one measure that? Who gets to be enrolled as members of each specific tribe?

Or do you have to have Native American ancestors? What percent of your ancestry must be Native American for you to qualify?

That’s something for Native American tribes to decide for themselves, not for others to speculate on or decide for them.

The point is that Warren stepped into a controversial issue without much sensitivity for the people who are most affected by it.

The Cherokee Nation issued a statement disapproving of Warren’s use of a DNA test. One Native American journalist, Jacqueline Keeler, said that Warren’s use of DNA as evidence reinforces the idea of Native Americans as a race and thereby undermines their claims of citizenship in sovereign nations.

In this case, the liberal white racism may seem subtle: It was Elizabeth Warren thinking she had the right to speak on Native American identity without checking with Native Americans and becoming educated about the issues related to it.

Some also say it was Elizabeth Warren using Native American identity to bolster her own political career without concern for how her use of it might harm Native Americans.

However, there are three takeaways here. One is that if you identify as a white liberal, there are good odds that you could do some learning about racial issues and how to combat racism.

The second is that Warren could try to set things right now by educating herself and learning how she can best advance the interests of Native Americans in her political career. She should listen to Native American leaders.

The third is that what Trump did was worse. Far worse. We must remember that, too.

OtherWords columnist Jill Richardson is pursuing a PhD in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives in San Diego. Distributed by

The Conversation

Why the Christian idea of hell no longer persuades people to care for the poor

October 23, 2018


Meghan Henning

Assistant Professor of Christian Origins, University of Dayton

Disclosure statement

Meghan Henning received funding from the Jacob K. Javitts fellowship (U.S. department of education).


University Of Dayton

University Of Dayton provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.

It’s that time of the year when hell is used as a common theme for entertainment and hell-themed haunted houses and horror movies pop up all over the country.

Although many of us now associate hell with Christianity, the idea of an afterlife existed much earlier. Greeks and Romans, for example, used the concept of Hades, an underworld where the dead lived, both as a way of understanding death and as a moral tool.

However, in the present times, the use of this rhetoric has radically changed.

Rhetoric in ancient Greece and Rome

The earliest Greek and Roman depictions of Hades in the epics did not focus on punishment, but described a dark shadowy place of dead people.

In Book 11 of the Greek epic the “Odyssey,” Odysseus travels to the realm of the dead, encountering countless familiar faces, including his own mother.

Near the end of Odysseus’ tour, he encounters a few souls being punished for their misdeeds, including Tantalus, who was sentenced eternally to have food and drink just out of reach. It is this punishment from which the word “tantalize” originated.

Hundreds of years later, the Roman poet Virgil, in his epic poem “Aeneid,” describes a similar journey of a Trojan, Aeneas, to an underworld, where many individuals receive rewards and punishments.

This ancient curriculum was used for teaching everything from politics to economics to virtue, to students across the Roman empire, for hundreds of years.

In later literature, these early traditions around punishment persuaded readers to behave ethically in life so that they could avoid punishment after death. For example, Plato describes the journey of a man named Er, who watches as souls ascend to a place of reward, and descend to a place of punishment. Lucian, an ancient second century A.D. satirist takes this one step further in depicting Hades as a place where the rich turned into donkeys and had to bear the burdens of the poor on their backs for 250 years.

For Lucian this comedic depiction of the rich in hell was a way to critique excess and economic inequality in his own world.

Early Christians

By the time the New Testament gospels were written in the first century A.D., Jews and early Christians were moving away from the idea that all of the dead go to the same place.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the story of Jesus is told with frequent mentions of “the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.” As I describe in my book, many of the images of judgment and punishment that Matthew uses represent the early development of a Christian notion of hell.

The Gospel of Luke does not discuss final judgment as frequently, but it does contain a memorable representation of hell. The Gospel describes Lazarus, a poor man who had lived his life hungry and covered with sores, at the gate of a rich man, who disregards his pleas. After death, however, the poor man is taken to heaven. Meanwhile, it is the turn of the rich man to be in agony as he suffers in the flames of hell and cries out for Lazarus to give him some water.

For the marginalized other

Matthew and Luke are not simply offering audiences a fright fest. Like Plato and later Lucian, these New Testament authors recognized that images of damnation would capture the attention of their audience and persuade them to behave according to the ethical norms of each gospel.

Later Christian reflections on hell picked up and expanded this emphasis. Examples can be seen in the later apocalypses of Peter and Paul – stories that use strange imagery to depict future times and otherworldly spaces. These apocalypses included punishments for those who did not prepare meals for others, care for the poor or care for the widows in their midst.

Although these stories about hell were not ultimately included in the Bible, they were extremely popular in the ancient church, and were used regularly in worship.

A major idea in Matthew was that love for one’s neighbor was central to following Jesus. Later depictions of hell built upon this emphasis, inspiring people to care for the “least of these” in their community.

Damnation then and now

In the contemporary world, the notion of hell is used to scare people into becoming Christians, with an emphasis on personal sins rather than a failure to care for the poor or hungry.

In the United States, as religion scholar Katherine Gin Lum has argued, the threat of hell was a powerful tool in the age of nation-building. In the early Republic, as she explains, “fear of the sovereign could be replaced by fear of God.”

As the ideology of republicanism developed, with its emphasis on individual rights and political choice, the way that the rhetoric of hell worked also shifted. Instead of motivating people to choose behaviors that promoted social cohesion, hell was used by evangelical preachers to get individuals to repent for their sins.

Even though people still read Matthew and Luke, it is this individualistic emphasis, I argue, that continues to inform our modern understanding of hell. It is evident in the hell-themed Halloween attractions with their focus on gore and personal shortcomings.

These depictions are unlikely to portray the consequences for people who have neglected to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, cloth the naked, care for the sick or visit those in prison.

The fears around hell, in the current times, play only on the ancient rhetoric of eternal punishment.

This GOES East satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Willa in the eastern Pacific, on a path toward Mexico’s Pacific coast on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (NOAA via AP) GOES East satellite image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Willa in the eastern Pacific, on a path toward Mexico’s Pacific coast on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (NOAA via AP)
News & Views

Staff & Wire Reports