Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Saturday 4 July 2009

Happy 233rd birthday, country:

Saturday 4 July 2009 09:28:33 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#
Friday 3 July 2009

Sarah Palin announced on the second-biggest "take out the trash day" of the year that she's resigning her office on the 25th. No one seems to know why:

Palin announced that she will transfer power to Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell. Parnell will be sworn in during the upcoming governor's picnic in Fairbanks on July 25. An emotionally choked-up Parnell said he plans to keep all state commissioners and continue to pursue a natural gas pipeline.

Palin did not field questions and would not give any indications as to her future plans.

A burst of Patriotic Spirit on this holiday weekend? Or just another delusional escapade? Does she even know? Seriously—given her history of behavior lying somewhere between narcissistic personality disorder and worse, does anyone this side of the loony right fringe think she's not insane at this point?

Take a look:

Friday 3 July 2009 16:01:38 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#

I sometimes shop at the Book Depository, a British online bookseller, because I'm a nerd. (Also because they have British editions and free shipping to the U.S.)

Today, I discovered their cool Google Maps mash-up, showing who is buying what on their site.

Did I mention I'm a nerd?

Friday 3 July 2009 10:27:31 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Cool links#

The FDIC closed seven banks yesterday, the highest number in one week since 1998. But back then, during the S&L crisis, things were much worse, believe it or not:

So far there have been 52 FDIC bank failures in 2009.

It appears the pace has picked up lately (12 bank closings over the last two weeks).

There were 28 weeks during the S&L crisis when regulators closed 10 or more banks, and the peak was April 20, 1998 with 60 bank closures (there were 7 separate weeks with more than 30 closures in the late '80s and early '90s).

(Emphasis in original.)

Still, if you have money on depsoit in the John Warner Bank, Clinton, Ill.; First State Bank of Winchester, Ill.; Rock River Bank, Oregon, Ill.; Millennium State Bank of Texas, Dallas; Elizabeth State Bank, Ill.; First National Bank of Danville, Ill.; or Founders Bank, Worth, Ill.; you may want to swing on by Monday and meet the new owners.

By the way, this doesn't mean that Illinois is a particularly bad place for banks. It's far more likely that the cluster of bank failures downstate has more to do with the logistics of getting FDIC personnel to so many at once. NPR has a good explanation of how it works.

And anyway, my deposits are at Citi, so I'm not at all worried about my bank's soundness.

Not one tiny bit.

Nope.

Perfectly safe bank, Citi.

Friday 3 July 2009 10:16:21 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#
Thursday 2 July 2009

you're resigning:

(Via Talking Points Memo.)

Thursday 2 July 2009 14:48:57 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Jokes | US#
Wednesday 1 July 2009

Just kidding, though it seems like this could be from Stonewall. No, this is from last week—on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall raid, no less—and does not reflect favorably on the good people of Central Texas:

The short version is this: About 1 a.m. Sunday, two Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agents and six [Fort Worth] cops showed up at the [Rainbow Lounge, a gay] club for an inspection.

More after the jump.

Wednesday 1 July 2009 15:25:03 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#

I can't imagine United doing this:

Or this.

Air New Zealand.

Wednesday 1 July 2009 09:23:06 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Aviation | Cool links#
Tuesday 30 June 2009

NPR is reporting that Norm Coleman has conceded, ending one of the longest U.S. Senate contests in history.

Tuesday 30 June 2009 15:56:54 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled (just like every other court before it) that Al Franken won election to the U.S. Senate back in November:

"Affirmed," wrote the Supreme Court, unanimously rejecting Republican Norm Coleman's claims that inconsistent practices by local elections officials and wrong decisions by a lower court had denied him victory.

"Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled [under Minnesota law] to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota," the court wrote.

But the court did not grant Franken's bid to make its ruling effective immediately, possibly leaving a window for an appeal by Coleman before Gov. Tim Pawlenty is required to issue an election certificate.

Yeah, so, it's not over yet. As Eric Kleefeld points out:

Will Coleman concede, or will he take another path -- as national GOP leaders like Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) have urged -- and take this to federal courts, where he might try to get an injunction against Franken receiving a certificate of election? And if Franken does get his certificate, will the Senate GOP attempt to filibuster its acceptance?

Regardless, Coleman has exhausted his appeals under Minnesota law, so I think it's fair to call Franken "Senator-Elect" at this point.

Tuesday 30 June 2009 14:01:50 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#
Monday 29 June 2009

Nobel laureate Paul Krugman on climate-change deniers:

The fact is that the planet is changing faster than even pessimists expected: ice caps are shrinking, arid zones spreading, at a terrifying rate. And according to a number of recent studies, catastrophe — a rise in temperature so large as to be almost unthinkable — can no longer be considered a mere possibility. It is, instead, the most likely outcome if we continue along our present course.

Temperature increases on the scale predicted by the M.I.T. researchers and others would create huge disruptions in our lives and our economy. As a recent authoritative U.S. government report points out, by the end of this century New Hampshire may well have the climate of North Carolina today, Illinois may have the climate of East Texas, and across the country extreme, deadly heat waves — the kind that traditionally occur only once in a generation — may become annual or biannual events.

In other words, we’re facing a clear and present danger to our way of life, perhaps even to civilization itself. How can anyone justify failing to act?

The science may be uncertain about how much climate change we're causing, but when you're driving a car into a brick wall, an extra meter or two per second hardly matters.

Monday 29 June 2009 10:47:48 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US | Weather#
Sunday 28 June 2009

A friend called me up Friday night and asked if I wanted to go on a brewery tour of Southern Wisconsin the next morning. Here's the result: 578.5 km in a little under 7 hours, with Parker, and four breweries (plus a Heidi Festival).

We started around 9 in the morning from Lincoln Park, and by noon we'd arrived at the New Glarus Brewing Co.. (More after the jump.)

Sunday 28 June 2009 15:46:09 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Geography | Kitchen Sink#
Friday 26 June 2009

My cousin turned a very large round number on Wednesday, so, being cruel, I took him to the Cubs game in Detroit. I'll have a rare back-dated entry about that in a little bit, with some kvetching about Amtrak; for now, just some pictures of the game.

But first, a non-sequitur: via Paul Krugman, today is the 35th anniversary of the UPC bar code.

Anyway. The game. Yeah, we didn't see this coming:

Friday 26 June 2009 09:01:59 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Baseball | Cubs | Cool links#
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David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is a software developer in Chicago, and the creator of Weather Now. Parker is the most adorable dog on the planet, 80% of the time.
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