3960′

That’s the estimated width of the tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri, yesterday: three-quarters of a mile.

The hospital took a direct hit, as did multiple schools.  A busy commercial corridor–a Wal-mart, Home Depot, Sonic–needs more body bags.

Pray for Joplin residents.  And consider donations to the Red Cross for the thousands who have lost their homes.

UPDATE: linked by Pundette & a “Recommended Read.” Thanks!

UPDATE: via Pundette, text donation info that wasn’t available late last night:

Financial donations to The Salvation Army disaster relief efforts may be made by texting the word ARMY to 90999 for an automatic $10 donation. To make a credit card donation, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or go to SalvationArmy.us.Checks may be mailed to The Salvation Army, 3637 Broadway Ave., Kansas City, MO 64111.

The Red Cross has said they are in need of blood donations. Those interested can donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999.

The death toll rises. More storms head for the area.

UPDATE: via The Other McCain, wicked video. It just … appears.

Scathing Strassel

Who knew we’d have to worry about a President who remains more concerned with Kansas bball “firepower” than Gadaffi’s? Or the disaster of losing cable on game night rather than the millions suffering from real disaster in Japan?

Kimberly Strassel in the WSJ:

One knock on Barack Obama in the 2008 election was his record as an Illinois state senator, where he repeatedly ducked tough issues by voting “present.” It seems old habits die hard.

If you’d like to know where the leader of the free world stands on those NCAA rankings, just turn on ESPN. (“I think Kansas has more firepower,” he explained as he filled out his bracket.) Wondering what the commander in chief thinks about gun laws? Don’t worry—he’s in favor of those already on the books, according to a recent op-ed.

If, however, you are curious about where the most powerful man in the universe stands on Libya, radiation, a possible government shutdown, the future of Social Security, or rising oil prices, don’t look to the White House. Those issues are tough. Those issues risk mistakes. Those issues might mean unhappy voters. And right now, it’s approval ratings the White House cares about.

Obama advisers are spinning their excuses for the president’s absence (he needs to stay above the fray, he believes in international agreement). Conservatives, for their part, are beginning to argue the “incompetence” line. A combination of all is probably at work, along with an even greater impulse: political safety. Mr. Obama got a taste of falling approval ratings last year. The White House has worked hard to get those numbers back up and wants to keep them there until Mr. Obama has a GOP opponent and can go into campaign mode—where he’s at his best.

There’s nothing left to add. Read the rest.

One polling question Obama can’t escape: whether he remains committed to ensuring America’s prosperity. Seems most of the country has figured that one out. Finally.

“It’s amateur night”

So says a Clinton “insider” of Obama’s foreign policy. Apparently Hillary has tired of wringing her hands tied behind her back:

Fed up with a president “who can’t make his mind up” as Libyan rebels are on the brink of defeat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is looking to the exits.

At the tail end of her mission to bolster the Libyan opposition, which has suffered days of losses to Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, Clinton announced that she’s done with Obama after 2012 — even if he wins again.

Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up,” a Clinton insider told The Daily. “She’s exhausted, tired.”

Maybe that’s why he always voted “present,” eh? Couldn’t decide one way or another!

Ed Morrissey says we’re now “mulling” airstrikes, long after it would have made a difference. If it happens, I’m sure it will come as the last standing rebel is slaughtered.

Don’t worry, though: Obama says he’s delivered “change we can believe in,” according to Pundette.

Yup: I’ve never been more ashamed of my country. Seems I’m not the only one. Japan has been reduced to rubble, Libyan rebels are on the run, and our POTUS can only hack picking his bball teams and jetting around on vacations. That’s a change, all right.

Please, head back to the golf course

Let’s see: genocide in Libya, absolute disaster in Japan, Saudi Arabia rolling over Bahrain. To say nothing of budget meltdown. Must be time for another vacation! Better get it in before the military gets shafted out of a paycheck or two while food prices rise astronomically!

Via Hot Air:

President Barack Obama will take his first official trip to Brazil this weekend where he will speak in the popular Cinelandia Square in downtown Rio de Janeiro.

The Obama family will also take in the sights in Rio. A trip to Corcovado mountain, where the Christ the Redeemer statue stands (France gave us Lady Liberty, gave Brazil Jesus) is supposedly on the itinerary. What trip to Rio would be complete without it?

A shame they’ll miss the Carnivale fun. Anyone else get to take a glam fam Spring Break trip at taxpayer expense?

Jim Geraghty takes the words right out of my mouth:

It’s also worth recalling that the immediately preceding president was demonized, seemingly endlessly, for A) continuing to listen to a teacher read “My Pet Goat” after being informed of the 9/11 attacks, refraining from causing a panic among children before him; B) a photo of him holding a guitar was used to insist that he somehow ignored Hurricane Katrina C) his line “now watch this drive” was used to assert that somehow Bush was lazily golfing while the war on terror raged . In other words, our friends on the Left already established the standard that a president dare not be seen doing anything less than fully appropriate focus while a crisis is occurring, anywhere in the world.

Stay home and golf. Helluva lot cheaper.

Related this morning: Pundette’s Barack the Unwilling. Unwilling to work, but more than happy to use taxpayer funds to jet around the world and par-tay like a rock star. Bonus: English geeks will appreciate the first link.

The next day: “Wasteland”

There are no words.

Tens of thousands of missing and 45,000 told to evacuate due to nuclear emergency.

Explosion at one nuclear power plant, five others in state of emergency.

Iodine distribution.

Quake moved earth’s axis by 4 inches and Japan’s coastline by 8 feet

Want to help? Text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. To give more, head here.

And pray.

“There is really nothing to say, but in this first Friday of Lent, a day of abstinence, let us offer up our prayers and sacrifices for the stricken nation of Japan and the people living in anxiety as the water moves…”

So says the Anchoress of the massive 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated Japan. She’s right, though it feels woefully inadequate.

I’ve dashed off emails and prayers for friends whose entire families are in Japan and one to a very pregnant friend in Hawaii who is most likely still awake now, still crying, still nervous with the evaucation sirens blaring on the hour.

From the WSJ:

The inside of The Wall Street Journal newsroom wasn’t immune to the raw shock. Workers in the office, located on the 19th floor of an Otemachi district skyscraper, quickly moved from business-as-usual handling of typical quakes to a startled realization that the building across the way was moving from left to right. In a few seconds, the swaying became so violent that staff had to hold on to desk and chairs. Knuckles tightened, and faces grew pale.

Tokyo is over 200 miles from the epicenter. 

A passenger train missing? There are no words.

Elsewhere:

CMR: A Prayer Request from Japan 

Hot Air has amazing coverage with video and pics. The whirlpool horrifies me. And the second-order effects, namely the nuclear reactor problems, will continue to pose myriad dangers. Pray and donate if you’re able.

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