The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Thanks, Obama!

The outgoing president has authorized $1.1 billion in Federal transportation funds to modernize the northern half of the CTA's Red Line:

City Hall has received the parting gift it wanted from the Obama administration: just under $1.1 billion in federal grants to rebuild a key stretch of the Chicago Transit Authority's Red Line north.

The city and U.S. Department of Transportation officials are scheduled to sign a contract tomorrow, known as a full-funding grant agreement, committing the DOT's Federal Transit Agency to provide $957 million in "core capacity" funds and another $125 million in anti-congestion money for the CTA's Phase One Red/Purple Modernization project.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in a phone interview, called the Red Line "the central nerve" of the CTA system.

The federal money "means 6,000 (construction) jobs, and it means decades of neighborhood improvements," he said, crediting U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and state officials for taking the necessary preliminary steps to make it happen.

"Forty percent of the people who take the CTA take that line," he added.

Some of the track, embankments, and stations in the affected zone are 117 years old.

More stuff to read

Even though there are about 58 hours left in the year, I still have work to do. Meanwhile, a few things to read have crossed my RSS feeds:

OK, back to work.

When was the last time this happened?

President Obama yesterday called Donald Trump "woefully unprepared" and "unfit" to be president:

During a press conference at the White House with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Obama posed the question to the Republican Party: "If you are repeatedly having to say what Trump says is unacceptable, why are you still endorsing him?"

"The notion that he would attack a Gold Star family that had made such extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our country, the fact that he doesn't appear to have basic knowledge around critical issues in Europe, the Middle East, Asia means that he is woefully unprepared to do this job," Obama said.

[He] continued that while there have been Republican presidents he has disagreed with, Trump's actions put him in a different category.

"What does this say about your party that this is your standard bearer? This isn't a situation where you have an episodic gaffe," Obama said. "There has to be a point in which you say 'This is not somebody I can support for president of the United States."

That's an extraordinary statement from a sitting president, and may be unprecedented. I know up until the late 19th century it was common for one side to call the other side unfit—just take a look at some of the things Adams and Jefferson said about each other in the election of 1796—but a sitting president? I don't think this has happened since 1920, and even then, Wilson's slams against Cox came during his own party's nominating process.

Also consider that this president, specifically, doesn't usually get into it like that.

Very interesting.

So much to read after work today

From AVWeb: one of the world's two remaining B-29 Superfortresses flew for the first time this weekend after being grounded for more than 60 years.

From CityLab: Nice's surveillance network is extensive—possibly too extensive to do any good.

From New Republic:

Over in the Atlantic, James Fallows just adds it to the list of things historians will probably wonder about (at #44) and why it matters (#45).

Cranky Flier reports on a different batch of corruption after United Airlines released documents showing how its bid in Newark, N.J., for a new hangar went south. Literally.

At New York Magazine, Andrew Sullivan live-blogged day 1 of the Republican National Convention.

At The New Yorker, Jane Mayer talked with Tony Schwartz, the man who wrote Trump's Art of the Deal.

And here at home, from Crain's Chicago Business, how former governor Jim Edgar has gone from coaching current governor Bruce Rauner gently to calling him out in public.

 

 

Obama at Howard University

Via Daily Kos, the President gave the commencement address at Howard University Saturday, giving a clear rebuke to Bernie Sanders' central message throughout:

The president was not attacking Sanders’ ideology of fairness. But he was clearly separating himself from Sanders’ dogmatic insistence on revolutionary transformation.

If you want to make life fair, then you have to start with the world as it is.

The balance between idealism and pragmatism was clearly at the forefront of the president’s mind.

Democracy requires compromise, even when you are 100% right. This is hard to explain sometimes. You can be completely right and you still have to engage folks who disagree with you. If you think that the only way forward is to be as uncompromising as possible, you will feel good about yourself, you will enjoy a certain moral security, but you will not get what you want.

This is one reason there has been somewhat of a class divide between Bernie and Hillary supporters. The “moral security” Obama refers to is an emotional and intellectual luxury if it doesn’t contribute to substantive change.

Here's the whole speech:

Presidential decisions

Five years ago yesterday, President Obama announced to the world that U.S. forces had captured and killed Osama bin Laden. Earlier that night, after making one of the biggest decisions of his presidency, he did this:

Back in September, New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik made the same observation:

What was really memorable about the event, though, was Trump’s response. Seated a few tables away from us magazine scribes, Trump’s humiliation was as absolute, and as visible, as any I have ever seen: his head set in place, like a man in a pillory, he barely moved or altered his expression as wave after wave of laughter struck him. There was not a trace of feigning good humor about him, not an ounce of the normal politician’s, or American regular guy’s “Hey, good one on me!” attitude—that thick-skinned cheerfulness that almost all American public people learn, however painfully, to cultivate. No head bobbing or hand-clapping or chin-shaking or sheepish grinning—he sat perfectly still, chin tight, in locked, unmovable rage. If he had not just embarked on so ugly an exercise in pure racism, one might almost have felt sorry for him.

Then, this weekend, Andrew Sullivan said that the U.S. has never been so ripe for tyranny. I haven't digested his article yet, and I'm probably more optimistic than he, but all of these things are related.

But hey, if you think Donald Trump has the temperament and nuance to be president, you go right ahead and vote for him.

Reading list for this evening

In between four rehearsals and two performances this week (Monday through Sunday), I'm taking tonight off. So while I have a minute or two between helping new developers understand some old code, I'm jotting down this list of things that looked particularly appealing when they came up on RSS feeds:

OK, the new devs are testing something...and more on that later.