Political satirist Mark Russell will be missed:
With his deadpan solemnity, stars-and-stripes stage sets and fusty bow ties, Mr. Russell looked more like a senator than a comic. But as the capital merry-go-round spun its peccadilloes, scandals and ballyhooed promises, his jaunty baritone restored order with bipartisan japes and irreverent songs to deflate the preening ego and the Big Idea.
Presidents from Eisenhower to Trump caught the flak. He sang “Bail to the Chief” for Richard M. Nixon, urged George H.W. Bush to retire “to a home for the chronically preppy,” likened Jimmy Carter’s plan to streamline government to “putting racing stripes on an arthritic camel,” and recalled first seeing Ronald Reagan “in the picture-frame department at Woolworth’s, between Gale Storm and Walter Pidgeon.”
Did he have any writers? “Oh, yes — 100 in the Senate and 435 in the House of Representatives.” The true meaning of the Cold War? “In communism, man exploits man. But with capitalism, it’s the other way around.” Gun control? “I will defend my Second Amendment right to use my musket to defend my Third Amendment right to never, ever allow a British soldier to live in my house.”
Buffalo Toronto Public Media, who hosted his comedy specials for many years, have put together a compilation:
Once again, I have too much to read:
Finally, it was 20 years ago tonight that Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley had city workers vandalize Meigs Field so that he could sell the land to his pals. The Tribune has a photo history.
Here's why your suburb will go bankrupt in 25 years if it doesn't start building a denser environment:
Really, it's arithmetic. And you can generalize this principle to understand why building new highways instead of fixing old ones makes no financial sense. But that's old news.
I've had a bunch of tasks and a mid-afternoon meeting, so I didn't get a chance to read all of these yet:
Finally, close to me, after the lovely Grafton Pub closed last August, the Old Town School of Folk Music stepped in to buy the space. But that plan has hit a snag after a higher bidder emerged.
At my day job, I go into our downtown office at least once a week, which turns out to be about once a week longer than almost everyone else. I like the change of scene, and Cassie gets to spend those days at day camp, so it's a win for everyone.
The 90%-or-so remote work that people have elected also means we have tons of empty offices while our multi-year leases run their courses. So, after waiting almost a year for the furniture upgrade that never came, the office manager today said "just go take the office next door to yours." Cool. Better furniture, a (very slightly) different view, and...that's about it.
While I move my stuff 4 meters to the west, you can read these:
Finally, in keeping with me schlepping my books and laptop next door, Salesforce and Meta have put 22,000 m² of downtown Chicago office space on the secondary market, terrifying commercial real estate owners everywhere.
After having the 4th-mildest winter in 70 years, the weather hasn't really changed. Abnormally-warm February temperatures have hung around to become abnormally-cool March temperatures. I'm ready for real spring, thank you.
- ProPublica reports on the bafflement inside the New York City Council about how to stop paying multi-million-dollar settlements when the NYPD violates people's civil rights—a problem we have in Chicago, for identical reasons—but haven't figured out that police oversight might help. (One Daily Parker reader suggested taking the money out of the police pension fund.)
- A bill moving through Florida's legislature would address suburban sprawl by redefining it. (Want to bet a real-estate developer lobbied for this one?)
- A ransomware attack a few weeks ago has affected up to 130 organizations, according to researchers and online boasts from the attackers.
- United Airlines wants to start air-taxi service between the Loop and O'Hare by 2025, using electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) airplanes.
Finally, I laughed out loud at the YouGov survey that found 46% of American men who have never flown an airplane think they could land an air transport with only some help from Air Traffic Control. I laughed because I do know how to fly a plane, and I don't think I could land a 787 well enough to use the plane again under any circumstances without a few dozen simulator hours. In fact, I would probably spend several crucial minutes trying to figure out how to change the radio to 121.5 and the transponder to 7700. But hey, the United States put Dunning and Kruger on the map, so this seems about right to me.
The Apollo Chorus annual fundraiser/cabaret is on April 1st, and tickets are still available. If you can't make it, you can still donate.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world:
And finally, screenings of Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, the new slasher pic featuring Winnie and Piglet as serial killers, will not be shown in Hong Kong and Macau, because Chinese dictator Xi Jinping thinks it's a jab at him. Seriously.
A few large US cities have seen housing prices rise much faster than inflation, particularly in higher-density areas. Eric Levitz explores some possible causes:
The United States is very good at sabotaging itself through policy errors. But few of our nation’s governing failures are as simultaneously needless and detrimental as our inability to build housing.
There are between 1.5 million and 6 million fewer homes in the U.S. than there are households ready to occupy them. The proximate cause of this mismatch isn’t hard to discern: Over the past ten years, the number of housing units per 1,000 people in the U.S. has actually fallen.
By itself, a rising ratio of people to units would be sufficient to put pressure on housing supply. But since the pandemic, the number of discrete households in the U.S. has also spiked. This phenomenon has multiple causes. One is that much of the millennial generation is aging out of its roommate-tolerating years en masse and starting separate households.
Another is that the rise of remote work has led many Americans to seek more personal floor space, whether by ditching roommates or upgrading from, say, one-bedroom dwellings to two-bedroom ones so as to make room for a home office.
[But] what is it about living in an English-speaking country that turns people against high-rises?
Speaking English probably didn't cause the housing crisis, but the correlation is hard to miss.
As reported in The Economist this week, US Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) composed a haiku to encapsulate the sum total of his understanding of how education works in the US:
All this woke, uh, Trans-
Gender athletes, CRT
(I edited slightly for meter.)
I mean, you have to admire how well this illustrates the intellectual firepower that Tuberville brings to the Senate, and how far Representatives Lauren Boebert (R-CO) and Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) have yet to go to approach his level.
Media reports, including the XPOTUS's own social-media posts, suggest the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York will issue an historic indictment on Tuesday:
The Manhattan district attorney's office is expected to issue criminal charges against Trump in a case centering on a payment that Michael Cohen, Trump's attorney and fixer at the time, made to the adult film star Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen told CNN Thursday that he believed an indictment of Trump was "imminent."
Trump has maintained his innocence in the case and claims he did not have an affair with Daniels. His attorneys have also argued the investigation is politically motivated. Trump attacked Daniels Wednesday on his social media platform Truth Social.
To secure a conviction, prosecutors would have to prove Trump knowingly broke state law by reimbursing Cohen for his payment to Daniels and then falsifying his business records to cover it up.
There is also no guarantee the case will go to trial.
Of course this won't go to trial. The XPOTUS may have massive lacunae in his higher functions, but I'm sure he's canny enough to realize that he can't afford politically to have Stormy Daniels take the stand.
If you think the Democratic Party wouldn't be as hard on one of our own as we think the Justice Department should be about the XPOTUS, here's just one of the things I wrote about Democratic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich—who I fucking voted for—when it turned out he was unfit for office. Heck, read all of the things I wrote.
See, it's not about partisan politics; it's about not wanting our politicians to do crimes. And it's about wanting something approaching ethics based on a simple fear of consequences to guide these narcissists, as actual moral philosophy is simply beyond them.
Also, this is likely only the first indictment coming for the XPOTUS. There are at least two other grand jury investigations in other jurisdictions, operating on their own timetables. The next election will not be fun.