The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Political morass in Illinois

States can't declare bankruptcy. If they could, Illinois would probably have done already:

While it appears unlikely or even impossible for a state to hide out from creditors in Bankruptcy Court, Illinois appears to meet classic definitions of insolvency: Its liabilities far exceed its assets, and it's not generating enough cash to pay its bills. Private companies in similar circumstances often shut down or file for bankruptcy protection.

...Despite a budget shortfall estimated to be as high as $5.7 billion, state officials haven't shown the political will to either raise taxes or cut spending sufficiently to close the gap.

As a result, fiscal paralysis is spreading through state government. Unpaid bills to suppliers are piling up. State employees, even legislators, are forced to pay their medical bills upfront because some doctors are tired of waiting to be paid by the state. The University of Illinois, owed $400 million, recently instituted furloughs, and there are fears it may not make payroll in March if the shortfall continues.

In unrelated news, the current temperatures are 16°C in Raleigh and -1°C in Chicago...

Friday afternoon potpourri


Really. January.

Three months forward in two hours

As "Chicagoans gaze out at a cover of snow for the 21st consecutive day" today, I'm once again in Raleigh, where snow fell once a few weeks ago but decided not to stay the night. It's already 9°C, going up to a predicted 16°C this afternoon. I plan to walk as far as my legs will take me (or Parker's will take him) later on.

That's the problem, of course: in Chicago, we get maybe three days like this between November and March, so I'm a little giddy about it. On the other hand, Chicagoans do get a lot of work done in the winter. Probably because we have no opportunities to play.

Not a bad place to spend the winter

It turns out, Raleigh isn't that cold. All my life I've just accepted that Chicago winters build character. But I'm not sure anymore, especially after three sunny, 5°C days here while temperatures back home have skulked around -12°C. Then, today, this:

A winter storm warning will be in effect across the Chicago area from this evening through Friday morning.

By the end of that warning, anywhere from 15 to 30 cm of a fairly fluffy snow will have come down, according to the National Weather Service. The heaviest snows are expected near the lakefront.

... The heaviest snowfall will occur between noon and 6 p.m. Thursday, with snow falling at about an inch an hour, [said Charles Mott, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service].

Forecasters predict snow in Raleigh tonight, too: about 1 cm or so. Of course, that amount could halt all commerce in North Carolina, so we'll be stocking up on bottled water later.

Seriously, though, Raleigh averages 19 cm of snow annually; Chicago, 98 cm. Then there are the normal temperatures of both cities. I'll say nothing else right now except that the average January daily high temperature in Chicago is the average January daily low temperature in Raleigh.

Let's see how I like Raliegh in July. But today, it's fine.

Raleigh, N.C., sunrise chart for 2010

Since I'm spending so much time here, I thought I should do a Raleigh sunrise chart to complement the one for Chicago. (You can get one for your own location at

An interesting note about 2010: the sunset on November 6th will be the latest sunrise for most places in the U.S. (7:43 am in Raliegh) until 2021.

Date Significance Sunrise Sunset Daylight
6 Jan Latest sunrise until Mar. 14th 07:26 17:17 9:50
20 Jan 5:30pm sunset 07:23 17:30 10:07
17 Feb 7am sunrise 07:00 17:59 10:59
18 Feb 6pm sunset 06:59 18:00 11:00
12 Mar 6:30am sunrise 06:30 18:20 11:49
13 Mar Earliest sunrise until Apr. 26th
Earliest sunset until Oct. 31st
06:29 18:21 11:52
14 Mar Daylight savings time begins
Latest sunrise until Oct. 22nd
Earliest sunset until Sept. 16th
07:28 19:22 11:54
17 Mar 12-hour day 07:24 19:25 12:01
20 Mar Equinox 13:32 EDT 07:19 19:27 12:08
23 Mar 7:30pm sunset 07:15 19:30 12:15
3 Apr 7am sunrise 06:59 19:39 12:40
25 Apr 6:30am sunrise 06:30 19:57 13:27
28 Apr 8pm sunset 06:27 20:00 13:33
3 Jun 6am sunrise 06:00 20:27 14:27
7 Jun 8:30pm sunset 05:59 20:30 14:31
12 Jun Earliest sunrise of the year 05:58 20:33 14:34
21 Jun Solstice 07:28 EDT 05:59 20:35 14:35
24 Jun 6am sunrise 06:00 20:35 14:35
28 Jun Latest sunset of the year 06:01 20:36 14:34
19 Jul 8:30pm sunset 06:13 20:30 14:16
10 Aug 6:30am sunrise 06:30 20:11 13:39
20 Aug 8pm sunset 06:38 20:00 13:21
10 Sep 7:30pm sunset 06:54 19:30 12:36
18 Sep 7am sunrise 07:00 19:18 12:18
22 Sep Equinox, 23:09 EDT 07:03 19:13 12:10
26 Sep 12-hour day 07:07 19:07 12:00
1 Oct 7pm sunset 07:10 18:59 11:48
23 Oct 6:30pm sunset 07:29 18:30 11:00
24 Oct 7:30am sunrise 07:30 18:29 10:58
6 Nov Latest sunrise until 6 Nov 2021
Latest sunset until Mar 7th
07:43 18:15 10:32
7 Nov Standard time returns
Earliest sunrise until Mar 3rd
06:44 17:14 10:30
23 Nov 7am sunrise 07:00 17:04 10:04
5 Dec Earliest sunset of the year 07:11 17:02 9:51
21 Dec Solstice, 18:38 EST 07:22 17:05 9:43

You can get sunrise information for your location at