@KamalaHarris becomes first Black woman, South Asian elected vice president — The #Colorado Sun

Kamala Harris. By United States Senate – This file has been extracted from another file: Kamala Harris official photo.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64332043

From The Associated Press via The Colorado Sun:

Kamala Harris has been a rising star in Democratic politics for much of the last two decades

Kamala Harris made history Saturday as the first Black woman elected as vice president of the United States, shattering barriers that have kept men — almost all of them white — entrenched at the highest levels of American politics for more than two centuries.

The 56-year-old California senator, also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, represents the multiculturalism that defines America but is largely absent from Washington’s power centers. Her Black identity has allowed her to speak in personal terms in a year of reckoning over police brutality and systemic racism. As the highest-ranking woman ever elected in American government, her victory gives hope to women who were devastated by Hillary Clinton’s defeat four years ago.

Harris has been a rising star in Democratic politics for much of the last two decades, serving as San Francisco’s district attorney and California’s attorney general before becoming a U.S. senator. After Harris ended her own 2020 Democratic presidential campaign, Joe Biden tapped her as his running mate. They will be sworn in as president and vice president on Jan. 20.

Biden’s running mate selection carried added significance because he will be the oldest president ever inaugurated, at 78, and hasn’t committed to seeking a second term in 2024.

Harris often framed her candidacy as part of the legacy — often undervalued — of pioneering Black women who came before her, including educator Mary McLeod Bethune, civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer and Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the first Black candidate to seek a major party’s presidential nomination, in 1972.

“We’re not often taught their stories,” Harris said in August as she accepted her party’s vice presidential nomination. “But as Americans, we all stand on their shoulders.”


Harris is the second Black woman elected to the Senate. Her colleague, Sen. Cory Booker, who is also Black, said her very presence makes the institution “more accessible to more people” and suggested she would accomplish the same with the vice presidency.

Harris was born in 1964 to two parents active in the civil rights movement. Shyamala Gopalan, from India, and Donald Harris, from Jamaica, met at the University of California, Berkeley, then a hotbed of 1960s activism. They divorced when Harris and her sister were girls, and Harris was raised by her late mother, whom she considers the most important influence in her life…

“British 19th Century, East Indian Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera), late 19th century, gouache on oriental paper, overall: 42.2 x 33.4 cm (16 5/8 x 13 1/8 in.), Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection, 1970.19.1”. By British 19th Century – This file was donated to Wikimedia Commons as part of a project by the National Gallery of Art. Please see the Gallery's Open Access Policy., CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81415124

Kamala is Sanskrit for “lotus flower,” and Harris gave nods to her Indian heritage throughout the campaign, including with a callout to her “chitthis,” a Tamil word for a maternal aunt, in her first speech as Biden’s running mate. When Georgia Sen. David Perdue mocked her name in an October rally, the hashtag #MyNameIs took off on Twitter, with South Asians sharing the meanings behind their names.

The mocking of her name by Republicans, including Trump, was just one of the attacks Harris faced. Trump and his allies sought to brand her as radical and a socialist despite her more centrist record, an effort aimed at making people uncomfortable about the prospect of a Black woman in leadership. She was the target of online disinformation laced with racism and sexism about her qualifications to serve as president.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington said Harris’ power comes not just from her life experience but also from the people she already represents. California is the nation’s most populous and one of its most diverse states; nearly 40% of people are Latino and 15% are Asian. In Congress, Harris and Jayapal have teamed up on bills to ensure legal representation for Muslims targeted by Trump’s 2017 travel ban and to extend rights to domestic workers…

“That’s the kind of policy that also happens when you have voices like ours at the table,” said Jayapal, who in 2016 was the first South Asian woman elected to the U.S. House. Harris won election to the Senate that same year.

Harris’ mother raised her daughters with the understanding the world would see them as Black women, Harris has said, and that is how she describes herself today.

She attended Howard University, one of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities, and pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha, the nation’s first sorority created by and for Black women. She campaigned regularly at HBCUs and tried to address the concerns of young Black men and women eager for strong efforts to dismantle systemic racism.

Her victory could usher more Black women and people of color into politics.

#SanJuanRiver streamflow report #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

From The Pagosa Springs Sun (Clayton Chaney):

After a recent storm that dropped nearly 2 feet of snow across the southern San Juan Mountains, the San Juan River has seen a rise in its flow rate compared to recent readings. Last month, a record low flow rate was set.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the San Juan River was flowing at a rate of 48.4 cfs as of 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Based on 84 years of water records, the river is still flowing below the average rate of 117 cfs for this date. The highest recorded rate for this date was in 1987 at 657 cfs. The lowest recorded rate was 22 cfs, recorded in 1956.

A boater, John Dufficy, makes his way down the lower end of the San Juan River toward the take-out, in 2014. Photo Credit: Aspen Journalism/Brent Gardner-Smith

From email from Reclamation (Susan Novak Behery):

In response to increasing tributary flows, the Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled a decrease in the release from Navajo Dam from 400 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 300 cfs on Monday, November 9th, starting at 4:00 AM. Releases are made for the authorized purposes of the Navajo Unit, and to attempt to maintain a target base flow through the endangered fish critical habitat reach of the San Juan River (Farmington to Lake Powell).

The San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program recommends a target base flow of between 500 cfs and 1,000 cfs through the critical habitat area. The target base flow is calculated as the weekly average of gaged flows throughout the critical habitat area from Farmington to Lake Powell.

U.S. endured record wildfires, historic hurricanes in October — NOAA

A view from the highway of the massive East Troublesome wildfire smoke cloud near Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado on October 16, 2020. As of November 4, 2020, the wildfire has consumed more than 193,000 acres of land a was only 37% contained. Photo credit: Inciweb

From NOAA:

Extreme weather events took the spotlight again in October as the nation saw raging wildfires, record hurricane activity and record snowfall in some parts.

Temperature and precipitation, however, ranked very close to average across the contiguous U.S. last month.

Here are more highlights from NOAA’s latest monthly U.S. climate report:

Climate by the numbers
October 2020 | Temperature and precipitation

The average October temperature across the contiguous U.S. was 54.4 degrees F, 0.3 of a degree above the 20th-century average and placed the month in the middle third of the climate record.

Some state standouts include California, which had its hottest October on record, as well as Arizona and Florida where each ranked third hottest. The coldest temperatures covered much of the northern Rockies, Great Plains and the Great Lakes.

The average precipitation last month was 2.16 inches — exactly average. This placed October in the middle third of the historical record.

Some places, however, were quite dry. Below-average precipitation fell across much of the Western U.S., the Deep South, central and northern Plains as well as across portions of the Southeast. California had its second driest October on record.

Year to date | January through October 2020

An annotated map of the United States showing notable climate and weather events that occurred across the country during October 2020. For text details, please visit http://bit.ly/USClimate202010.

The average contiguous U.S. temperature for the year to date (YTD) was 57.0 degrees F, 2.1 degrees above the 20th-century average. This tied 2006 as the seventh-warmest YTD on record.

Arizona, Florida and New Mexico ranked as warmest on record for this 10-month period, while there were no notable regions reporting below-average temperatures.

The YTD U.S. precipitation total was 26.30 inches, 0.94 of an inch above average, and ranked in the wettest third of the record. So far this year, Tennessee has had its wettest YTD; North Carolina, its second wettest.

An annotated map of the United States showing notable climate and weather events that occurred across the country during October 2020. For text details, please visit http://bit.ly/USClimate202010.

More notable climate events in October

  • Record wildfires scorched the West: Colorado had its three-largest wildfires in state history last month — the Cameron Peak, Pine Gulch and East Troublesome fires. In particular, the East Troublesome fire spread rapidly to more than 193,000 acres. Wildfires also grew explosively in California, with nearly 100,000 Orange County residents evacuating as the Silverado and Blue Ridge fires burned.
  • Historic tropical activity in the Atlantic: Through October 31, 11 named Atlantic tropical cyclones have made landfall in the U.S. this hurricane season, breaking the previous record of nine landfalls in 1916. In October alone, Hurricanes Delta and Zeta both struck Louisiana just a few weeks apart.
  • Record snowfall in some places: Heavy snow was reported across parts of the West and Plains last month. It was the snowiest October on record for many places, including: Great Falls, Montana (28.0 inches); Minneapolis-St. Paul (9.3 inches) and St. Cloud, Minnesota (7.2 inches); Spokane, Washington (7.5 inches); Albuquerque, New Mexico (4.2 inches); Amarillo, Texas (7.4 inches); and Wichita, Kansas (1.6 inches).