Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog
Monday 27 June 2011

It's impressive, isn't it, that four of the last seven Illinois governors earned felony convictions and jail time? Rod Blagojevich was today found guilty on 17 of 20 counts. From the Trib:

This marks the second time in less than a year that the 54-year-old Blagojevich, the only Illinois chief executive ever impeached and ousted from office, had been convicted of a crime. The jury at his first trial last summer found him guilty of lying to theFBI, though that panel deadlocked on all the other counts. That impasse set the stage for a retrial.

This time the verdict was unequivocal, with the jury of 11 women and one man finding Blagojevich guilty on 17 criminal counts he faced, including charges of wire fraud, attempted extortion, bribery and conspiracy. The marquee charge in the case involved an attempt by Blagojevich in late 2008 to cash in on his power to name a replacement in the U.S. Senate for newly elected President Barack Obama.

The jury acquitted Blagojevich on one count and deadlocked on two others.

Blagojevich, the fourth former Illinois governor convicted of felonies since 1973, likely faces a significant prison sentence.

You know, I feel sorry for the guy. He had this thing, and it was f'ing golden...

On the other hand, the guy is dumber than a box of hair. As the Trib drolled: "Blagojevich’s turn on the witness stand, something he had promised to do in his first trial before backing out, proved a double-edged sword. Under cross-examination he came off as a quibbler as a prosecutor drew a bead on his credibility from the very first question: 'You are a convicted liar, correct?' "

I'm not a practicing attorney, but even I could have guessed the government would lead the cross-examination with that question. Hell, the lawyers who advertise on the bus for slip-fall clients could have guessed that. But ol' Blago...wow.

I just realized that today's news comes in time for tonight's Daily Show taping. I can't wait to watch.

Monday 27 June 2011 14:39:31 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | US#

Scotland, on the Kyle of Lochalsh train:

23 June 1992, Kodachrome 64, Canon T-90 with Tamron 35-210mm f/4.5-5.6, exposure unrecorded, probably about here.

Monday 27 June 2011 10:20:12 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#
Sunday 26 June 2011

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) in the Chicago Pride Parade this afternoon:

ISO-200, 1/800 at 4/5.6, 250mm, here.

I've got more photos from the event up on SmugMug.

Sunday 26 June 2011 16:20:55 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Photography#
Saturday 25 June 2011

In honor of last night's historic law in the Empire State:

25 July 1984, Kodachrome 64, exposure unrecorded, 50mm, here (I think).

Saturday 25 June 2011 11:20:34 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#

Last night the New York Senate passed a same-sex marriage law making the state the sixth to legalize it and effectively doubling the population of SSM-legal jurisdictions.

Connecticut, D.C., Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont now allow same-sex marriage; civil unions or domestic partnerships are recognized in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin (to greater or lesser extent).

One part of the country lurches into the 21st century while another staggers back to the 19th...

Map: Wikipedia

Saturday 25 June 2011 09:42:31 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#
Friday 24 June 2011

St. Michael's Monestery, Kiev, Ukraine:

9 May 2009, Canon 20D, ISO-200, 1/1000 at f/8, 200mm, here.

Friday 24 June 2011 10:45:22 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#

Fallows justly slams Rep. Eric Cantor (R-OH):

A petulant demonstration to the rest of the world that we can't meet the baseline obligation we expect of any two-bit duchy -- that it will face its financial problems and honor its sovereign debt -- would be a big, damaging step in the wrong direction. Good for John Boehner in recognizing that more than his own ambitions are at stake here. If the default actually comes, and markets panic, and interest rates for everything shoot up, keep the courageous Rep. Cantor in mind on that day.

Every once in a while, it would be nice if the Republicans in Congress did their jobs.

Friday 24 June 2011 10:03:39 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#
Thursday 23 June 2011

Avoiding the traffic jam somewhere in southern Wisconsin:

13 October 2003, Kodak DC4800 at ISO=100, 1/700 at f/8, 13mm.

Thursday 23 June 2011 10:18:55 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#

You can see the past photos of the day in my SmugMug gallery.

Wednesday 22 June 2011 22:32:32 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#
Wednesday 22 June 2011

The U.S. Capitol at sunset:

12 January 2002, Kodak DC4800, ISO-100, -0.5 EV, 1/700 at f/4.5, 18mm, here.

Wednesday 22 June 2011 12:51:18 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#

Last night Chicago got hit by severe storms that included hurricane-force winds:

Violent storms raked large sections of the Chicago area Tuesday evening, knocking power out to nearly a quarter million Chicago area residents and transforming some thoroughfares into darkened obstacle courses, hard to navigate with streetlights out and debris, ranging from large trees to power poles and garbage cans, impeding if not entirely blocking travel. Police in some of the hardest hit areas were forced to light flares to mark fallen trees.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing transformers exploding at the height of the storms while others described some neighborhoods as "war zones" after the onslaught of storms.

... The storms generated gusts as high as 130 km/h at Wheeling and 120 km/h at Peru, Elmhurst and Wheaton.

I was inside, as you can imagine, as the storms ran over my part of the city, with horizontal rain and, well, lots of wind. At one point I watched the groundskeepers at US Cellular Field blown around as they tried to get the tarp over the infield.

Ah, global warming.

Wednesday 22 June 2011 12:46:37 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Cubs | Weather#
Tuesday 21 June 2011

On the James River, just downstream of Richmond, Va.:

1 February 2003, Kodak DC4800 at ISO-140, -1 EV, 1/90 at f/3.4, 11mm, near here.

This came from from my old Kodak DC4800, which I mentioned yesterday. Like yesterday's, it looks great on the blog at 500x750, but it doesn't have much more resolution than that, and Adobe Lightroom helped it along a little.

Tuesday 21 June 2011 10:00:51 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#

Summer begins today at 12:16 CDT, which is good because I'm tired of this 32°C spring weather.

My objection to the past three months of Chicago weather probably sounds familiar: we've either had too little or too much heat, and during warm afternoons, when someone might want to sit outside and have a beer, we've had instead crashing rain. Today's forecast sounds just like that, too.

On the other hand, it beats this...

Tuesday 21 June 2011 09:23:52 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Chicago | Weather#
Monday 20 June 2011

Sullivan raves about how New York's political leaders in both parties have made gay marriage a real possibility this year:

It's a BFD because it doubles the number of Americans with the right to marry the person they love, even if they are gay. That is one hell of a fact on the ground. It will almost certainly help in California. It will reveal even more profoundly that this does not mean the end of civilization, but is, more prosaically, a modest reform to strengthen the family, integrate the marginalized and enlarge our moral universe. And it cannot now be undone.

Fingers crossed.

Monday 20 June 2011 13:14:10 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | US#

The Guggenheim Museum, 31 December 2000:

ISO-100, 1/125 at f/4, Kodak DC4800, 12mm, taken here.

I mentioned a while ago that only with my Canon 7D have I gotten digital images with about the same resolution as film. Even though I made this photo on a 3Mpx camera, I shot it at 1536x1024 because I had, I think, a 64 MB card in the camera, which could hold only about 300 shots. Still, the shot looks decent enough at Web resolutions.

I spent part of the weekend organizing photos from the last decade in Adobe Lightroom. From late 2003 to 2006 I used a Nikon E2100, a little throwaway camera, and I almost cried comparing its photos to the Kodak DC4800's (like the one above) and photos from the Canon SD400 that followed it. The lack of resolution and exposure control gave me more than two years of photos with less quality than shots from most modern mobile phones.

Monday 20 June 2011 10:40:53 CDT (UTC-05:00)  |  | Photography#
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David Braverman and Parker
David Braverman is the Chief Technology Officer of Holden International 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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