The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

The next 75 days

The Chicago Tribune has a photo essay on what Obama's victory may mean to Chicago. Key points (to me, anyway): The unfair outflow of state resources to the Fed (we get about 70c of every Federal tax dollar we pay, compared with, say, Alaska that gets about $2 back), our Olympics prospects, and what happens when Air Force One lands at O'Hare.

Is this my surprised face? Do I appear surprised? :/

Via Talking Points Memo, Newsweek found that the $150,000 estimate of Palin's spending spree may have been, ah, conservative:

One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

The same article notes another gift Sarah "Real American" Palin's bestowed on the world:

The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied. Michelle Obama was shaken by the vituperative crowds and the hot rhetoric from the GOP candidates. "Why would they try to make people hate us?" Michelle asked a top campaign aide.

Why, indeed?

Today's Daily Parker

We didn't hit the record for warmest November 5th today, but it did get within 1°C, to 22°C. After the euphoria (and, frankly, Champagne) of last night, I couldn't prevail against the weather, so Parker and I went to Wiggly Field with a Chuck-It:

Parker has—I am not making this up—learned to dribble. He drops the ball from his mouth and catches it on the bounce, repeatedly:

Mostly he just wants to chase the ball and keep it away from me once he's got it:

Some updates

Not all election-related (corrected):

  • California Proposition 8: The Wall Street Journal reports the referendum passed, meaning more than half of Californians believe it's still 1957.
  • Minnesota Senate: State law requires a recount after the offical tally shows Franken less than 600 votes (of 3 million cast) behind Coleman. Franken released a statment a few minutes ago. (I originally said Franken requested the recount; apparently Minnesota law requires one with a margin this small.)
  • North Carolina President: State officials report a margin of 12,000 (in favor of Obama) out of 4.2 million votes cast, but say it will take days to count all the provisional ballots.
  • Chicago weather: Truly, this is a golden age here, as we're once again flirting with record warmth and sunny skies. Yesterday we hit 22°C, just shy of the record (24°C); right now it's already 20°C, again just shy of the record (22°C).

Meanwhile, down the ballot


I cared about some other races last night. First the good news:

Illinois 5th: Rahm Emanuel got re-elected handily, but it appears he may resign today to become President-elect Obama's chief of staff. That means two major vacancies in Illinois: our junior senator (our senior one got 74% of the vote for his own re-election), and my congressman. Rumors are that Gov. Blagojevich will appoint my former congresswoman, Jan Schakowsky (Ill. 9th), or Illinois Attorney General (and Blagojevich's most dangerous foe in the 2010 Democratic Primary) Lisa Madigan, to Obama's Senate seat, and who knows to Emanuel's House seat.

Illinois 14th: Bill Foster handed race-baiting Jim Oberweis his sixth election defeat, 57% to 43%. Jim, please, your family wants you to save your millions and go home. So does the rest of the state.

Cook County States Attorney: Anita Alvarez got 70% of the vote over smarmy and nasty Tony Peraica. Good. Now sit down and shut up, Tony.

Indiana Presidential: Indiana pulled through last night for the first time in my life, 50% Obama to 49% McCain.

Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Nevada, and Florida Presidential: Also very nice to see, especially Pennsylvania's 600,000-vote margin of victory.

Colorado Senate: Mark Udall over Bob Schaffer, 52%-48%.

New Hampshire Senate: Jean Shaheen over John Sununu, 52%-45%.

New Mexico Senate: We got another seat in a 61%-39% blowout as Tom Udall defeated Steave Pearce.

North Carolina Senate: Wow, calling her opponent "godless" really backfired on Elizabeth Dole, who lost to Democrat Kay Hagan by 400,000 votes.

Pennsylvania 12th: John Murtha should have gotten more than 58% of the vote, given his stature in the House, but at least his unbelievable gaffe ("some of my constituents are racists") didn't get him turfed out.

But, you can't win them all:

Illinois 10th: Dan Seals lost to milquetoast Mark Kirk, 46% to 54%.

Illinois 16th: A childhood friend just moved to Western Illinois and brought her Democratic vote with her. Sadly, though, that part of the state leans right the way Parker leans against trees, so Republican Don Manzullo goes to Washington with 61% of the vote.

Illinois constitutional convention and recall amendment: A majority of Illinois voters don't like change, even when it's a good thing. They're happy to keep stinky office-holders in office until they're convicted of felonies, and they're happy to keep funding schools with a medieval, property-tax-based system that punishes poor students and gives us palaces like New Trier in towns that could afford it anyway. We need to end this system, and only changing our constitution will permit that change. But we have to wait until 2018 before the next call for a con-con, ten years in which a million kids will endure crappy schools and a million homeowners will endure high property taxes.

Minnesota 6th: Michelle Bachmann, who thinks we need another McCarthy Commission, squeaked past El Tinklenberg 46%-43%, about 12,000 votes. On the other hand, Bachmann was polling in the 70s only last month, and I'd bet this is her last term.

West Virginia Presidential: When was the last time West Virginia went to the right and Virginia went to the left? 1920, when progressive James Cox won Virginia and West Virginia voted for conservative (an mental midget) Warren Harding. Good choice, guys. Keep in mind the reason we have West Virginia in the first place: it has a lot to do with American race relations and a President from Illinois.

And still no decision:

Alaska Senate: You know, it put things in perspective about Sarah Palin (whose 15 minutes are now officially over) that convicted felon Ted Stevens is apparently 4,000 votes ahead of Democrat Mark Begich. He may, in fact, win. Fortunately Alaska law no longer allows the governor to appoint interim Federal office holders; they'll have to have a special election once Stevens goes to jail.

California Proposition 8: Sadly, it looks like California will take a step back into the last century as the anti-gay proposition leads 52%-48% right now. But they're still counting.

Minnesota Senate: At last report, Republican Norm Coleman led Democrat Al Franken by less than 800 votes. I'll be watching this today. Update, 9:06 am: The official count is now less than 600 votes apart; Coleman has claimed victory, but Franken has exercised his right to a recount. We won't know the outcome of this race for a few weeks.

Missouri Presidential: McCain up by 8,000. If Missouri officially goes red, I will laugh out loud. We keep hearing that Missouri reflects the nation, but you know, this would be the second time in three elections they've gotten it wrong.

North Carolina Presidential: It looks like Obama won by about 12,000 votes, but no offical call yet.

Virginia 6th: Democrat Tom Perriello leads Republican Virgil Goode by 1200 votes in this mostly-rural district that includes Jefferson's home Monticello.

(Sorry about the lack of links, there were just too many to do, so I conceded defeat to them.)

First thoughts on America's self-correction

I've had a lot of Champagne, more than a lot of pizza, and way too much of this election season. But we won. And even Parker knows how happy I am.

By "we" I mean every American who thinks losing 25% of his retirement savings happened because the governing party made out like bandits. By "we" I mean every American who thinks having a competent President is better than having one who doesn't waver in the face of insurmountable evidence. By "we" I mean every American who thinks.

American Airlines has a $200 fare to Dublin next weekend, which I'm sorely tempted to take, just to be in a foreign capital and exclaim loudly that we Americans aren't stupid. We Americans aren't ignorant. We Americans know, in our hearts and minds, that we're part of the world. We're connected. We're all in this together. We need each other.

And we've elected someone who demonstrates that. Who shows us clearly, unequivocably, that it's important. That the United States isn't an insular, 19th-century Empire, blundering around the world with more power than sense, with more arms than heads. That the United States can pull together, that a majority of us, a significant majority of us, can agree: we're part of the world, and it's important our President reflects this.

President Obama will make mistakes, he'll adovcate policies I oppose, he'll annoy our closest allies. I don't think that can be helped, given the reality of the world. But I can scarcely imagine a moment in the next four or eight years when I'll doubt his ability, or his competence, or his humanity. And even those allies he annoys, those policies I oppose, those mistakes that make me cringe, even then, I'll know it's a reasonable disagreement between people who think, between people who balance the interests of some against others, between different parts of the government.

Because what President Obama will bring is that: government. Bush sought to rule; Obama understands that a republic can't be ruled, only governed, and then only by the consent of the governed.

We won. You won. Everyone, even those who voted against Obama, won.

That's the ball game

We won. We f**king won.

You know, 100 years for the Cubs vs. 232 years for America? Fair trade, I think.

My friend Gina is yelling "it's not for real yet!" Well, I'll wager money it'll be real within the hour via live feed from Phoenix. And we don't even know North Carolina and Indiana yet.

Ever notice, when the country really needs someone, they elect a President from Illinois?

Update, 10:19 CT: Not a dry eye in the house as McCain concedes. It's over.

Too exciting to blog about

I'm heading up to the Rogers Park neighborhood to watch the returns come in with some friends. Rogers Park has an old-leftie vibe to it (in parts). I expect the place I'm heading, the Morse Theater, will have a friendly crowd. (I hope they have food, too, because I'll be starving.)

Polls already closed in Indiana and Kentucky; several more states hit in half an hour. I'm always excited on election day, but never quite like this.