The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Evening news stories

A cold front pushed its way through Chicago this afternoon, making it feel much more like autumn than we've experienced so far. And it got pretty chilly in Washington, where Senate Republicans began the first day of hearings into the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court:

And much farther from home, Mars will be in opposition tomorrow night, coincidentally during the new moon, meaning we'll get a really good look at it.

Chaos at Pearson

After a 10-hour flight from Spain to Toronto, a rescue Podenco named Crystal discovered that someone had failed to properly secure her crate, and she was off:

Over the next 12 hours, a highly coordinated search ensued, replete with CCTV security, thermal infrared cameras and a call for help to the Falcon Environment Services, the airport wildlife team. All arrivals and departures were suspended for at least an hour on Tuesday morning as staff searched high and low for Crystal.

Finding her wasn’t the issue, Chris Stubbs said — the hardest part was being able to catch her. “There were times where it just looked like a white blur running down the taxiway,” Stubbs said

Podencos are close relatives of the greyhound, native to Spain, and were popularly adopted as hunting dogs, which explains their speed and agility. 

At two points, Crystal appeared on the runway as aircraft were landing, forcing pilots to quickly abort.

By the 12th hour, Crystal had worn herself out and crawled under a truck to rest, giving [animal control specialist Keith] Everett the rare opportunity to crawl close and slip a leash over her head. Rather than rush her out, he stayed under the truck with the scared, exhausted pup and tried to gain her trust by talking and giving her treats.

The pandemic saved her, by the way. At full capacity, Pearson has hundreds of takeoffs and landings every day. The airport would have had to use a much quicker and more permanent method to protect aviation safety in that case.

Crystal now lives with her adoptive family in New Brunswick.

Graceland Cemetery this evening

We have some decent fall colors this year. They should peak sometime this week, but I didn't want to waste perfect weather this evening, so I took the drone over to Graceland Cemetery and Arboretum:

Here's the end still, with a bit of processing in Lightroom, taken from here:

Graceland closed for the longest period in its history after the August derecho that knocked 200 trees and caused $250,000 in damage. Fortunately the surviving trees look beautiful in their autumn best.

Your morning ugliness

Three items, somewhat related:

  • The president's doctor, Sean Conley, released a memo pronouncing the president "no longer considered transmission risk to others," without providing any information on whether he tested negative for Covid-19, because why would you want clarity around the president's health?
  • The president, meanwhile, has openly called for prosecutions of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden, in a desperate bid to hang on to power befitting a small, whiny loser.
  • Three Washington Post reporters trace how a misogynistic conspiracy theory about Kamala Harris wended its way through the Intertubes.

Finally, if you're still undecided in this election, the Times has a quiz for you.

Whitmer claps back at the president

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer has had enough of the administration "endangering and dividing America:"

When I addressed the people of Michigan on Thursday to comment on the unprecedented terrorism, conspiracy and weapons charges against 13 men, some of whom were preparing to kidnap and possibly kill me, I said, “Hatred, bigotry and violence have no place in the great state of Michigan.” I meant it. But just moments later, President Trump’s campaign adviser, Jason Miller, appeared on national television accusing me of fostering hatred.

I’m not going to waste my time arguing with the president. But I will always hold him accountable. Because when our leaders speak, their words carry weight.

[I]nstead of uniting the country, our president has spent the past seven months denying science, ignoring his own health experts, stoking distrust, and fomenting anger and giving comfort to those who spread fear and hatred and division. He has proved time and again that he is more focused on his chances in the upcoming election and picking fights with me and Democrats across the country than he is on protecting our families, front-line workers and small businesses from covid-19.

We're only 24 days until the election. I've got my ballot right here, which I'll fill out tomorrow and drop off at the county election office on Tuesday.

More Chicago businesses killed by Covid-19

City Lit Books in Logan Square will close December 1st, a sad addition to a lengthening list of Chicago shop and restaurant closures due to the pandemic. I also found out today that Fountainhead, a gastropub in my neighborhood with one of the best whisky lists in the city, will close on November 14th. And my favorite Chicago rib joint, Fat Willy's, closed two weeks ago.

Reading lists of closed restaurants is depressing.

So far, though, only two breweries on the Brews & Choos List has gone under. Knock wood.

I feel for Julie Nolke

Let's start with the good news: Julie Nolke has a new video.

OK, ready for everything else?

And finally, today would have been John Lennon's 80th birthday.

VP debate reactions

Generally, reactions to last night's debate follow three patterns: Vice President Mike Pence mansplained to Senator Kamala Harris; Harris told the truth significantly more than Pence did; and the fly won. (My favorite reaction, from an unknown Twitter user: "If that fly laid eggs in Pence's hair, he'd better carry them to term.") Other reactions:

  • The Washington Post, NBC, and the BBC fact-checked the most egregious distortions, most of which came from Pence.
  • James Fallows believes "both candidates needed to convince voters they possess the right temperament for the job. Only one pulled it off."

In other news:

  • Following the president's positive Covid-19 test, and Pence's and the president's repeated interruptions and talking over the moderators, the Commission on Presidential Debates has decided the October 15th presidential debate will be virtual. The crybaby-in-chief got angry: "It’s ridiculous, and then they cut you off whenever they want." ("Speaking to reporters in Delaware, Biden said it was still possible [the president] would show up because 'he changes his mind every second.'")
  • Alex Shephard bemoans "the final message of a dying campaign:" "With his poll numbers collapsing, [the president] keeps adopting dumber and more destructive political messages."
  • The New Yorker dives into "the secret history of Kimberly Guilfoyle's departure from Fox."
  • For total Daily Parker bait, National Geographic explores the Russian military map collection at Indiana University, with 4,000 secret Russian maps drawn between 1883 and 1947, many captured from wartime intelligence services.
  • As today is the 149th anniversary of the Chicago Fire, the Chicago History Today blog looked at the history of the house at 2121 N. Hudson Ave., the only wood-frame building to survive in the burn zone.
  • Speaking of wood fires in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune has yet another ranking of pizzas. Happy lunchtime.

Finally, the FBI arrested six men who plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat. They didn't get close, but still.

VP debate live-blogging

And we're off! (All times CDT, same as the rest of the blog.)

20:01: Those chairs look comfortable, especially next to those tasteful Plexiglas shields.

20:07: "Thoughts and prayers" already off the bingo card, and from the moderator. Finally the first question 5 minutes in, on Covid-19. What will you do in January that the other guys won't? Harris: "This is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country." "Our plan: contact tracing."

20:09: To Pence: "You head the coronavirus task force. Why is our death rate higher than about every other country?" "From the very first day, [the president] has put the health of the nation first." (My first laugh of the night.) And he has quite a selective memory. And a dig at Joe Biden's plagiarism. And he won't shut up.

20:12: Harris's response hits the dead, they dying, and the January 28th day. "Mr Vice President, I'm speaking."

20:14: Pence falsely claimed that the president wanted to shut down the economy, and that "2 million might have died."

20:17: Harris: "You respect the American people when you tell them the truth." Meanwhile, one of my professional female friends texted that she wants to "bitch-slap" Pence, and to the "I'm speaking" line she texted "Do you know how often I've had to say that?"

20:19: Pence: "I would like to go back." Moderator: "We have to move on." We went back.

20:20: Pence: "Stop playing politics with people's lives." My second laugh-out-loud moment tonight. And then the canard about the swine flu epidemic.

20:21: Harris: Nice, using her answer about Biden's age to talk about her history and how Biden trusts her. "We share a purpose, which is about lifting up the American people."

20:25: Pence: "The transparency [of the president's doctors] will continue." So, no, you won't release any real information about the president's health.

20:26: Harris, pivoting from transparency on health information to transparency on taxes, to hitting the president's debts. "The American people have a right to know what is influencing the president's decisions." Bam.

20:29: Harris: "Biden will repeal [the 2017] tax bill and...invest that money in what we need to do..."

20:33: Pence just claimed credit for the Democratic Party's stimulus bills. And now he's demonstrating he has no idea how trade deficits work.

20:34: The white guy is hijacking the Black woman's time. And she's spanking him for it.

20:36: Pence: "Obamacare was a disaster...and we have a plan." Both statements are false.

20:38: Pence: "I'm very proud of our environmental record." Laugh line #3. Followed by a stream of lies about the president's record on the the environment and "a commitment to science" on climate change.

20:40: One of my friends says Harris should be pushing past the moderator the way Pence is, that she's not authoritative. I disagree.

20:41: Harris spent her answer on the Green New Deal correcting Pence's lies, and then pivoted to Biden's connection to farmers, then back to the administration's war on science. She's clear, calm, and positive.

20:43: Pence will not commit to a position on climate change consistent with science, then runs away from the question to go back to the 2017 tax cuts. He really doesn't want to talk about science because, frankly, he's one of its biggest opponents.

20:45: Harris: "You lost that trade war with China. America lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs. Farmers are in bankruptcy." Yep.

20:47: Why can't the moderator get Pence to shut up?

20:48: Pence just keeps going back to the past. Now he's talking about NAFTA? The question was about China, sir.

20:49: Pence: "China is to blame for the coronavirus." Oy gevalt. At least he's on-brand.

20:51: Harris: "There was a team of disease experts that Obama dispatched to China; this administration pulled them out." Nice. And then talking about how the world holds the Chinese leadership in higher esteem than ours. Sad and true.

20:54: This is a hell of a lot more intelligent than the last debate, I have to say. I don't think it's going to move the needle even a tiny bit.

20:56: What the hell is Pence talking about? And why won't he shut up?

20:59: Pivoting from our involvement in Syria to the president calling our armed forces "suckers and losers." And the president's inaction on Russian bounties on American troops.

21:01: Did the Susan Page's balls finally drop? Finally she told Pence to stop talking.

21:03: Pence is equating assassinating adversaries with protecting Americans. They're children.

21:07: Pence gets the question on how they would cover pre-existing conditions if the ACA gets struck down, and chooses instead to lie about how Biden supports taxpayer-funded abortions up to the moment of birth. And then asks Harris if they'll pack the court.

21:11: Pence: "They are going to pack the Supreme Court if they somehow win this election." Harris: "Let's talk about packing this court, then." And proceeds to bring up the unqualified, incompetent, and sub-standard appointments to the lower courts. Nice.

21:14: Harris pivots from the question about Breonna Taylor to George Floyd, and police reform. "Bad cops are bad for all cops."

21:16: Pence blames Harris for "the rioting and the looting." "...a great insult to the men and women who protect us...." Just shut up, honkey.

21:19: Harris: "I will not be lectured by the Vice President...I'm the only one on this stage who's prosecuted criminals. ... The president...refused to condemn white supremacists."

21:20: Pence: the president "has Jewish grandchildren." Oh for fuck's sake.

21:23: Harris, on the peaceful transfer of power: "We believe in the American people, and we believe in democracy. ... So vote!"

21:26: Pence: "I think we're going to win this election." Another laugh line. But...the question was, if you lose, what are you going to do if the president refuses to concede? He pivots to lying about the 2016 election, lying about the impeachment, and lying about voter fraud.

21:31: Another friend texts: "Wow, Pence is so scripted, so dispassionate, so...vanilla." Yes: he's the archetypical old white Christian dude. And in the spirit of Hannah Arendt, I would add "banal."

21:33: Another friend, responding to Pence's useless final answer to the final question: "Yes, we can be friends with people we disagree with until the thing we disagree about is you taking away their rights."

21:36: I didn't learn anything, but at least this debate wasn't the flaming cesspit of the last one. I watched the debate on PBS again, but I'm switching to NPR for commentary. And signing off for now.