The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Durham residency, day 2

Yeah, it's just not as exciting as previous residencies, but it's seriously more work.

Fortunately, I still have time to read gems like this:

Terry Jones and the Dove World Outreach Center may be charged $200,000 by the city of Gainesville, Florida, for security costs incurred by the canceled Koran-burning originally planned for September 11.

Jones' announcement of "International Burn-A-Koran" day resulted in some violent protests in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and threats against Americans. In response, Gainesville upped its security. According to The Associated Press: "Police Maj. Rick Hanna said more than 200 officers were on duty last weekend patrolling the church, the University of Florida football game and "soft targets" like the mall. Another 160 sheriff's deputies were also working because of the planned protest at Dove World Outreach Center."

Though Jones didn't go through with the protest, city officials say they want Jones to foot the bill for the security anyway.

To the tune of "Personality," everyone sing: "'Cause he de do do..."

Speaking of economics, here's a brief lesson for people who want the millionaire tax cut to continue:

Not true, but funny

From Dan Savage the week before last:

Is everyone in the Republican Party a closeted homosexual?

—Ken Mehlman's Out Now

Everyone except Ken Mehlman and Ben Quayle.

Of course, this simply isn't true. Other Republican leaders have come out as well.

Gay kaken am meer

Apparently a former Hitler Youth called me a Nazi today:

The pontiff praised Britain's fight against the Nazis - who "wished to eradicate God" - before relating it to modern day "atheist extremism".

Afterwards his spokesman Federico Lombardi said: "I think the Pope knows rather well what the Nazi ideology is".

Yes, Ratzinger should know what the Nazi ideology is, but I'm afraid we athiests are rather unlike him. In the same speech he also said, "I also recall the regime's attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives," forgetting, I suppose, how these pastors were resisting the organization he himself wanted to join and how the organization he himself now leads turned Jews over to the Nazis throughout the war.

Really, is there any reason to continue treating this man with the deference and respect we show actual world leaders?

Ach, he's nae welcome here

Sullivan asks, "What if the Pope came to Britain and not even the Catholics showed up?"

ONLY 65,000 Catholics are now expected to take part in the papal mass in Scotland tomorrow – one third fewer than originally expected and a mere fraction of the total number in the country.

The figure falls far short of the 100,000 pilgrims it was originally hoped would flock to see Pope Benedict XVI at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.

The Catholic Church denied that the controversy over the Pope's handling of the Church's child abuse scandal has undermined his imminent arrival.

But critics of the visit claimed the figures revealed the extent of indifference towards the first visit by a Pope to Scotland for 28 years.

The Catholic Church says more than 250,000 attended the mass in Bellahouston Park when Pope John Paul II visited in 1982.

I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more, just to be the man who walked 1,000 miles away from Ratzinger.


Josh Marshall: "Who could have predicted that an orchestrated campaign anti-Muslim hate speech on the part of many of the country's most prominent politicians and the country's biggest news network could have led to this unfortunate situation in Florida?"


Chicago's election viewed from overseas

The Economist has picked up on Daley's departure:

After Mr Daley privatised the city’s parking meters, drivers filled coin slots with glue and docile aldermen briefly located their spines. Last year Mr Daley struggled to close a budget gap. This summer just 31% of Chicagoans thought he should seek re-election.

So who will succeed Mr Daley? The most promising contender may be Mr Emanuel. Whoever the replacement, he is unlikely to bring the dramatic changes that characterised the Daley era. But a new leader is overdue. “Simply put,” Mr Daley said, “it’s time.”

And the Guardian:

Speculation in Chicago and Washington DC quickly turned to [President Obama's chief of staff Rahm] Emanuel, who has long made public his interest in the job – while the timing could not be better from the White House's point of view. With a crushing defeat in the US midterm elections looming, the need for Obama to reshuffle his senior staff after November was growing.

Emanuel refused to comment on the speculation, saying in a statement: "While Mayor Daley surprised me today with his decision to not run for re-election, I have never been surprised by his leadership, dedication and tireless work on behalf of the city and the people of Chicago."

Note that Emanuel was my Congressman until being named Obama's chief of staff in November 2008, and he maintains a permanent residence in the city.

Another portrait on Morton's wall

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley will not run for re-election next spring:

Daley's public approval rating had dipped recently, with a Tribune poll earlier this summer showing that more than half of Chicago voters said they don't want to see him re-elected.

The poll found only 37 percent of city voters approve of the job Daley is doing as mayor, compared with 47 percent who disapprove. Moreover, a record-low 31 percent said they want to see Daley re-elected, compared with 53 percent who don't want him to win another term.

The mayor's administration has been buffeted by a spate of summer violence, a weak economy and a high-profile failure to land the 2016 Olympics. Dissatisfaction abounds, the survey found, over Daley's handling of the crime problem, his efforts to rein in government corruption and his backing of a controversial long-term parking meter system lease.

This isn't a big surprise, as President Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel has hinted he wants the job—which he would never do without knowing for sure Daley was stepping down.

(Morton's Steakhouse, the best in Chicago, has portraits of the city's mayors going back to Daley's father.)

Vox populi vox ignorati

Paul Krugman noticed this poll from 1938, in which most Americans got completely wrong what the U.S. needed to get out of the depression:

Do you think government spending should be increased to help get business out of its present slump? Gallup Poll, Mar, 1938

37% Yes

63% No

Of course, it was massive government spending from 1942 to 1945 that actually ended the Great Depression.

Stealing from themselves?

Dilbert creator Scott Adams raises an interesting point in his blog today:

I'm fascinated by the degree to which brains have evolved to become more powerful than guns. Society's founding geniuses engineered a social system that encourages the young people who have guns to shoot at each other instead of robbing old people. Forgive me for calling that awesome.

In other news, my total working hours for August was 275.5, so I'm actually looking forward to the Term 6 residency for a respite. We've only got four full classes this term, so, you know, it's easier.

Only 102 days left...

Suffering in Suffern

I'm always so pleased at the way Americans want everything for free, and how bad we are at doing the basic math of transport costs, especially when a British newspaper reports on the total collapse of New York railroads today:

The fire at [the Long Island Railroad] Jamaica [station] was out, but the LIRR was still running well below capacity when an electrical problem in Maryland shut down power to trains up and down the Northeast corridor. Commuters in Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington (Delaware), and throughout New Jersey were affected by the outage, which hit at the height of rush hour.

As the New York Times and the Infrastructurist both note, this is yet another example of how America's outdated and fragile infrastructure continues to cause problems—especially in the Northeast corridor. The solution is simple: if Americans want better infrastructure, they have to invest the money to pay for it.

Oy. Trains are worth more than we pay for them, people. Get your heads out of your asses and your asses out of your cars.