The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Also uncategorical, also funny

I got a mailing from my undergrad alumni association exhorting me to go to the "23th Annual Dutch Festival." I last went to the 9rd one, or maybe the 10st, so I may just have to visit.

Spring is here

I'm back in Chicago for the weekend, where today it's 20°C (68°F) and sunny. To some readers in other parts of the world (see, for example, this list) that may not sound like anything interesting, but for me it means I seem to have a number of errands to run in the neighborhood...

GOP votes against ethics; no one surprised

It was a full day for the GOP yesterday. First, the National Republican Campaign Committee admitted, after receiving a $2,000 contribution from Duke Cunningham's expiring campaign fund, that they have no "standard practice for dealing with donations from convicted former lawmakers." Also yesterday, Jack Abramoff's defense team called him "a selfless patriot," with character references from 130 Republican lawmakers, some of whom called him, with total lack of irony, "generous."

They finished by killing a measure in the Senate to strengthen ethics enforcement:

On a 67 to 30 vote, the Senate defeated a bipartisan proposal to create an office of public integrity, which its backers said was designed to strengthen enforcement of Senate rules and bolster voters' trust in Congress in the aftermath of the guilty plea in January of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

For the record, my senators (Durbin and Obama, both D-IL) voted for the bill. I'm curious why Clinton (D-NY), Feinstein (D-CA), Boxer (D-CA), and Murray (D-WA) voted against it.

I'm also surprised McCain (R-AZ) voted for it, since he's showing himself to be farther right than Cheney lately; but I suppose it's possible to be an ethical radical right-winger:

American military hero and Arizona Sen. John McCain will deliver the Commencement message at Liberty University on May 13, at 9:30 a.m., in the Liberty University Vines Center. In addition, renowned Christian conservative leader Gary Bauer will speak during the University’s baccalaureate service on May 12, at 7:00 p.m., in the main sanctuary of the Thomas Road Baptist Church.

Didn't he once call Jerry Falwell, who founded Liberty University, an "agent of intolerance?"

Finally, if you have extra time today, read Jimmy Carter's op-ed in the Washington Post:

During the past five years the United States has abandoned many of the nuclear arms control agreements negotiated since the administration of Dwight Eisenhower. This change in policies has sent uncertain signals to other countries, including North Korea and Iran, and may encourage technologically capable nations to choose the nuclear option. The proposed nuclear deal with India is just one more step in opening a Pandora's box of nuclear proliferation.

It occurs to me that President Carter is still eligible to serve another term...

Southern New Hampshire: Logan or Manchester?

About a month ago, I promised to write about traveling for business. I only now have a little time to do so.

One question I get from many who live near my client (in Merrimack, N.H.) is, why do I fly into Boston Logan instead of Manchester? Simply put, it's faster and cheaper.

Faster, because the trip from my home to O'Hare takes about 30 minutes, while the trip to Midway would take closer to 90. That is significantly greater than the difference between travel times to Logan (60 minutes) and Manchester (20).

Cheaper, for many reasons. Chicago (O'Hare) to Boston is served by four or more major carriers; Chicago (Midway) to Manchester by only one. Consequently, it's often, but not always, cheaper to fly to Boston. Next week, for example, my fare on American is $134; this week it's $168. Compare with Southwest's minimum for any round-trip, which seems to be $198. Even when my fares are higher at more popular times, like at the end of April ($313), they're also higher into Manchester.

Finally, Logan gives me more options, should weather or airline management affect the flight schedule. American has 8 non-stop flights daily in each direction; Southwest only has 3.

So, Logan it is.

Passed on without comment

From today's Washington Post:

Sewage Tested for Signs of Cocaine
Fairfax Participating In Federal Program To Assess Drug Use
Earlier this month, [Fairfax County, Va.,] agreed to participate in a White House pilot program to analyze wastewater from communities throughout the Potomac River Basin for the urinary byproducts of cocaine.

No, uh, kidding.