The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Monday afternoon links

Busy day today, but I finished a major task at work just now. As I'm waiting for the CI system to finish compiling and pushing out a test build, I'm going to read these:

Finally, we got our first official (trace) snow of the season this morning, even as forecasters predict temperatures over 21°C this weekend. While I'm packing. All day.

Consequences

Man-shaped bag of feces Alex Jones may be "done saying I'm sorry," but a Connecticut jury suggests he should have tried just one more time:

The conspiracy theorist Alex Jones must pay $965 million to the families of eight Sandy Hook shooting victims and an FBI agent who responded to the attack for the suffering he caused them by spreading lies on his platforms about the 2012 massacre, a Connecticut jury found on Wednesday.

Jones had already been found liable by a judge after refusing to hand over critical evidence before the trial began, and this six-member jury was only asked to decide how much Jones should pay.

During closing arguments, Christopher Mattei, a lawyer for the families and agent, suggested that Jones should be ordered to pay at least $550 million, saying that the host's Sandy Hook content got an estimated 550 million views from 2012 to 2018.

“I’ve already said I’m sorry hundreds of times, and I’m done saying I’m sorry,” Jones said. 

A defiant Jones said he believed Sandy Hook was a hoax when he spread his lies. “I legitimately thought it might have been staged and I stand by that. I don’t apologize for it.”

News reports suggest he can afford it—barely. And of course, he'll just make up more vile shit that the MAGA folks will eat, because we're at that point in an historic cycle of stupidity. Maybe this means the cycle could end soon? I hope so.

Packing day

As far as I know, I'm moving in 2½ weeks, though the exact timing of both real-estate closings remain unknown. Last time I moved it took me about 38 hours to pack and 15 to unpack. This time I expect it to go faster, in part because I'm not spending as much time going "oh, I love this book!"

I'm taking a quick break and catching up on some reading:

Finally, a new survey says Chicagoans swear a lot less than most Americans, with people from Columbus, Ohio, swearing the most. Fuck that shit.

Herschel Walker should not have run for Senate

Comedian John Fuselgang summed up the Georgia GOP's position as: "I oppose abortion in all cases, unless it's to save the political life of the father." And whose political life does the Georgia GOP want to save? This guy's:

to read the mainstream media’s coverage of Walker’s gaffes and transgressions—his previously unidentified children from different partners, his spaced-out climate change commentary about “China’s bad air” taking over America’s “good air space,” a seemingly never-ending litany of resume-inflating lies—you’d think that everyone reporting these incidents imagines that the hypocrisy police are sure to arrive on the scene to make an arrest. What they’re missing is that the law of gravity is no longer in effect; the point of view that Senate candidates need to possess plainly evident core values or sturdy credentials to hold high office has been beaten into obsolescence by McConnell, who is the sole arbiter of who gets to run for Senate as a Republican.

For McConnell, the ideal Senate Republican possesses one quality: They are a warm body with enough cognitive acuity and physical dexterity needed to cast votes according to his demands. No further values or credentials are required. And for the most part, the votes those senators will cast only really reify an agenda he has already successfully enacted. For the past decade, as Beltway journalists have touted him as a “master tactician” by the way he’s leveraged arcane Senate rules to his own advantage or praised him, inexplicably, as a civil rights hero because he ultimately voted for an eminently qualified Black woman to serve as attorney general after months of delaying her confirmation, they’ve largely ignored his masterwork: a federal judiciary transformed by his blowtorch and pickax.

Andrew Sullivan piles on:

But then you come across the Senate candidacy of one Herschel Walker, and, well, words fail. No magical realist fiction writer could come up with something so sickeningly absurd. Walker is, of course, inextricable from his longtime friend, Donald Trump....

Walker is, to start with, very dumb. I don’t usually note this quality in a candidate and it doesn’t make him a huge outlier in politics of course. Being brainy, moreover, can be a serious liability for some pols. But seriously: this stupid?

He’s clearly incapable of understanding even a scintilla of what his job would entail, and manifestly incapable of doing it.

Maybe Walker makes up for it in charm and eloquence? Nope. He speaks like someone with brain damage. (As a pro-football alum, it’s amazing that the possibility of CTE has barely been raised, even though he has shown classic symptoms — no impulse control, murderous rage, incoherent speech, and even multiple personalities — for decades.) Just read any transcript of his incoherent rambling.

I am not saying that the Democrats are not also corrupted by rank tribalism. At their worst, they are, as I often point out. I am saying that they do not compare with the current GOP in its hollowness and depravity and madness.

Walker shows that there is no principle they will not jettison, no evil they will not excuse, no crime they won’t “whatabout,” and no moron they won’t elect, if it means they gain power. There is degeneracy among many Democrats, sure. But the Republican party is defined by this putrescence. Burn it down.

Karen Attiah compares Walker with another "toxic Black man," Kanye West:

If I had my way, I would dismiss these two as clowns. But America just makes them impossible to ignore. This country loves to inundate us with coverage of Black male figures embodying the archetype of the dumb, violent, Black servant eager to please the White masters.

But what can be done? I think it’s worthwhile and necessary to reward Black men who are doing good in society with our attention, votes and money when we can. For my part, I try not to allow West to profit off my attention. That’s what’s within my control. And Walker? It’s on Georgia voters to do the right thing — and keep him away from the Senate.

But no matter what happens, as long as our culture rewards anti-Blackness and misogyny, we will be sure to see more Wests and Walkers. It’s a dark state of affairs, for sure.

After Walker's most recent scandal, his poll numbers have plummeted, so we might not have to worry about him for too much longer. But the GOP has shown (with Walker, with Tommy Tuberville, with Sarah Palin, with so many other candidates) that they really don't care about governing, and have stopped any pretense of doing so. I hope more voters figure this out before the GOP takes us past the point of no return.

Complete pile-up in my "to be read" stack

I've had a busy day. I finally solved the token-authentication problem I've been working on all week for my day job (only to discover another flavor of it after deploying to Azure), while dealing with a plumber ($1600 repair!), an HVAC inspector ($170 inspection!) and my buyer's mortgage appraiser (not my problem!). That left some reading to do tonight:

Finally, despite the crashing temperatures outside my window right now (down 5.5°C in the past 2 hours), Illinois had a pretty dry and mild start to autumn.

Yay Justice Ketanji Brown!

The Tweet I highlighted earlier has this context behind it:

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson turned the favored tactic of her right-wing peers on its head Tuesday, advancing an originalist argument to support protections for racial minorities. 

She made the comments during oral arguments in Merrill v. Milligan, a case that gives the conservative majority the opportunity to gut the Voting Rights Act even further.

She read out a quote from the legislator who introduced the [14th] amendment, and went on to explain that the 14th Amendment was enacted to give a constitutional foundation to the Civil Rights Act of 1866 that was “designed to make people who had less opportunity and less rights equal to white citizens.”

Josh Marshall loves it:

It is such a breath of fresh air, seeing Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson say from the bench what the 14th Amendment actually says. “It’s not a race-blind remedy,” she says, in something of an understatement. But we can actually go well beyond this since so much of modern jurisprudence, mostly but not only from the right, is based not only on ignoring the context and plain text of the 14th Amendment but pretending that the real Constitution — albeit with some additions and fresh paint jobs — is the one finalized in the first Congress as the first ten amendments. The Civil War amendments are not only not race-blind. They reflect a larger realization and aim: that the whole state thing just hadn’t worked out.

It would be possible to argue that 150+ years since the passage of the Civil War amendments represents a cooling of the ambitions of the statecraft of the 14th Amendment and an effort to work out some equitable balance between localism and national power. There’s some truth to that. But that’s not an argument available to anyone who argues for originalism. With that you have to go back to what the Reconstruction Congress thought they were doing. And what they were trying to do was quite radical in the context of the 80 preceding years of American national history — indeed, quite radical in some ways in relation to today.

Will this cause the "originalists" on the Court any hesitation before finding against Black voters through tortured, motivated, ahistorical reasoning? Of course not. But the more the centrist Justices call out the three Trump appointees and Thomas for their partisan hackery, the more likely we will see some real court reform.

Well, yes, that's the idea

Chef's kiss:

In case it doesn't show up, here's the Tweet she's replying to:

That didn't stop Justice Thomas (R) from taking his seat, either, so moral consistency isn't something we should expect.

Anthony's Song

I'm movin' out. A lovely young couple have offered to buy Inner Drive World Headquarters v5.0, and the rest of the place along with it. I've already gotten through the attorney-review period for IDTWHQ v6.0, so this means I'm now more likely than not to move house next month.

Which means I have even less time to read stuff like this:

Finally, American Airlines plans to get rid of its First Class offerings, replacing them with high-tech Business Class and more premium coach seats. I'd better use my miles soon.

Happy Friday, with its 7pm sunset

It happens every September in the mid-latitudes: one day you've got over 13 hours of daylight and sunsets around 7:30, and two weeks later you wake up in twilight and the sun sets before dinnertime. In fact, Chicago loses 50 minutes of evening daylight and an hour-twenty overall from the 1st to the 30th. We get it all back in March, though. Can't wait.

Speaking of waiting:

Finally, Fareed Zakaria visited Kyiv, Ukraine, to learn the secret of the country's success against Russia.

Good thing there's an El

My commute to work Friday might get a little longer, as Metra has announced that 9 out of its 11 lines (including mine) would likely not operate if railroad engineers and conductors go on strike Friday. Amtrak has already started cancelling trains so they won't get stranded mid-route should the strike happen.

In other news:

  • Cook County tax bills won't come out until late autumn, according to the County President, meaning no one knows how much cash they have to escrow when they sell real estate.
  • The Post has an interactive map showing everywhere in the US that hit a record high temperature this summer.
  • US Rep. Marjorie Taylor "Still Smarter than Lauren Boebert" Greene (R-GA) has come up with a climate-change theory so dumb it actually seems smart.
  • US Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), another intellectual giant of the 117th Congress, proposed a Federal abortion ban, demonstrating a keen command of how most people in the United States view the issue.
  • Robert Wright explores "why we're so clueless about Putin."
  • Block Club Chicago explains why my neighborhood and a few others experienced massive geysers coming out of storm drains during Sunday's flooding rains.

Finally, right-wing lawyer Kenneth Starr died at age 76. No reaction yet from Monica Lewinsky.