The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

As bad as murder?

Instead of writing a banal post about American Airlines' changes to their million-mile program, here's something one of my co-workers just brought to my attention. A woman is on trial in Illinois for secretly recording a conversation with a cop she alleges was trying to get her to drop a harassment case against another cop. Because the person she recorded was a police officer, however, the crime is a Class 1 felony—the same class that includes second-degree murder[1], rape[2], and carjacking[3]:

Tiawanda Moore, 20, is charged with two felony counts of eavesdropping on a public official for allegedly recording a four-minute portion of the Aug. 18, 2010, interview on her BlackBerry, which she had hidden in her lap.

Moore, of Hammond, Ind., was being interviewed at police headquarters about her complaint that a patrol officer had grabbed her breast and given her his phone number when he came to her boyfriend’s South Side apartment on a domestic disturbance call.

The American Civil Liberties Union has worked for years to get the law overturned. Their case against the Illinois States Attorney seeking to overturn the law is currently before the 7th Circuit. Updates as warranted.


[1] i.e., unintentional homicide or manslaughter; see 720 ILCS 5/9-2(d)

[2] 720 ILCS 5/11‑1.20(b)(1)

[3] 720 ILCS 5/18-3(c)

Triple play in Triple-A

Via Raymond Chen, on Monday the Nashville Sounds, Milwaukee's farm team, turned a triple play against the Omaha Storm Chasers:

For those who don't know baseball's rules, a few things happened. First, a ball is "caught" (for an out) if the fielder making the catch gains full control over the ball before it touches the ground or another player, even if it touches a part of his own body—or his cap, as happened here. In the video above, this put the batter out.

Second, if a fielder catches a fly ball, all runners have to return to their last safe base before they can advance; this is called "tagging up." In this case, the runners started on first and second, and had advanced past second and third, respectively. The runner seen touching second base actually needed to make it back to first. So the fielder touching second put the next runner out, which is why the runner you see at second tried desperately to get to first again. He didn't make it; the first baseman forced him out.

It may have been an inelegant play, but hey, it ended the inning in 15 seconds.

Not a truck rolling by

Well, that was interesting.

A magnitude-5.9 earthquake just rattled Virginia, and we felt it in our office about 15 minutes later.

According to the USGS, this is the strongest quake since 1897 in Virginia:

The shock was felt severely at Narrows, about 3 kilometers west of Pearisburg. Here, the surface rolled in an undulating motion, water in springs became muddy, and water in some springs ceased to flow. The flow of water in springs also was disturbed in the area of Pearisburg, about 70 kilometers west of Roanoke, and Sugar Run.

Civic-minded nerd that I am, I have filed a report with the USGS. If you felt the thing, you should, too.


According to a recent study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tea Party supporters believe in "authoritarianism, libertarianism, fear of change, and negative attitudes toward immigrants and immigration:"

The study used polling of North Carolina and Tennessee, conducted by Public Policy Polling (D) in the Summer of 2010, and determined the cultural dispositions by measuring the responses of tea partiers to set questions. After PPP surveyed over 2,000 voters who were sympathetic to the Tea Party, researchers then reinterviewed almost 600 in the fall of 2010. Those interviews included everything from personality based queries like "Would you say it is more important that a child obeys his parents, or that he is responsible for his own actions?" to more political ones, like "Do you think immigrants who came into this country illegally but pay taxes and have not been arrested should be given the opportunity to become permanent legal residents?" The study also incudes interviews and short responses with ten participants at a Tea Party rally in Washington, NC.

In all seriousness, it's good that Prof. Perrin et al. got the data for this. For example, lest we confuse the Tea Party with latter-day Hamiltons and Madisons:

In our follow-up poll, 84% of those positive towards the TPM [Tea Party members] said the Constitution should be interpreted "as the Founders intended," compared to only 34% of other respondents. ... [But] support for Constitutional principles is not absolute. TPM supporters were twice as likely than others to favor a constitutional amendment banning flag burning; many also support efforts to overturn citizenship as defined by the Fourteenth Amendment.

In short: the Tea Party say they believe in the Constitution, but only the parts they like. In this way they carry on the populist, know-nothing tradition that has made America great since its founding.

Rick Perry's accomplishments

As he starts to look like the GOP's nominee next year, let's pause and consider what Rick Perry—"Governor Goodhair" to Molly Ivins not so long ago—has actually done:

So where does the notion of a Texas miracle come from? Mainly from widespread misunderstanding of the economic effects of population growth.

For this much is true about Texas: It has, for many decades, had much faster population growth than the rest of America — about twice as fast since 1990. Several factors underlie this rapid population growth: a high birth rate, immigration from Mexico, and inward migration of Americans from other states, who are attracted to Texas by its warm weather and low cost of living, low housing costs in particular.

What Texas shows is that a state offering cheap labor and, less important, weak regulation can attract jobs from other states. I believe that the appropriate response to this insight is “Well, duh.” The point is that arguing from this experience that depressing wages and dismantling regulation in America as a whole would create more jobs — which is, whatever Mr. Perry may say, what Perrynomics amounts to in practice — involves a fallacy of composition: every state can’t lure jobs away from every other state.

Curse you, Krugman, and your logic! That's not what the GOP needs right now.

Why the U.S. has such awesome beers

Because we have more craft breweries than probably the rest of the world, combined:

Today we have 1,759 brewing facilities—more than the pre-Prohibition high of 1,751. What happened? People got sick of corporate swill and started brewing their own. Some of them got really good at it and started small breweries. The circle of people who enjoy a good beer widened, drawing more good brewers in. And so on.

... At any rate, the explosion in popularity for real beer has been noted been by the giants, which is precisely why they can longer just peddle name brands like Bud and Miller but also have to roll out phony craft beers like Anheuser-Busch's inglorious "Shock Top" line. And as people consume less flagship swill like Bud and Miller, the companies have responded by desperately buying up smaller regional brands in hopes of keeping as many consumers as possible. Hence the rapid consolidation.

I think it may be time to review and amend the brewery crawl a friend and I did in 2009.