The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Inspiring, hopeful salmon?

NPR put listener comments about the State of the Union address through a word-cloud generator and came up with this:

They explain:

Why is "salmon" so big? As The Two-Way explains, NPR's Facebook followers were referring to one of the night's humorous moments — when the president joked about the complicated and convoluted way the government regulates salmon.

"The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater," Obama said. "I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked." That last line drew big laughs from lawmakers in the Capitol.

Mmmm. Smoked salmon. Inspiring.

Emanuel on the ballot...?

After yesterday's appellate court ruling, the Illinois Supreme Court has agreed to take the case immediately, but enjoined the Chicago Board of Elections from printing ballots without Emanuel's name on them:

"The Court is taking the case on the briefs filed by the parties in the appellate court," the order said. "No additional briefs will be filed in the Supreme Court. Oral argument will not be entertained."

Chicago election officials said about 300,000 ballots without Emanuel's name on them had been printed before the Supreme Court order. Those ballots will be quarantined and printing was to resume this afternoon with Emanuel's name on the ballot.

Did you hear a fat lady singing yesterday? Neither did I. Rahm Emanuel knows Malone's advice to Ness, after all.

Emanuel off the ballot...?

An Illinois Appellate Court has reversed the Chicago Board of Elections ruling allowing Rahm Emanuel to stay on our mayoral ballot next month:

Burt Odelson has argued Emanuel doesn't qualify to be on the ballot because the former White House chief of staff doesn't meet a requirement that the mayor of Chicago live in the city for one year before taking the office. "You can't mentally just have a residence," Odelson said last week after arguing before the appeals court. "You have to have a residence. You have to go somewhere."

Emanuel's attorneys have argued their client never abandoned his North Side home when he went to work in Washington, D.C. Both sides say they are prepared to take the case to the Illinois Supreme Court.

In the 24-page ruling, Justices Thomas Hoffman and Shelvin Louise Hall found that Emanuel didn't meet the one-year residency period required of municipal candidates, and that his service as President Obama's chief of staff didn't land him an exception for being away from home "on the business of the United States:"

Section 3-2's "business of the United States" exception is housed not only in the Election Code, but in a portion of the Election Code dealing exclusively with voter qualification, in fact in an Article titled "Qualification of Voters." See 10 ILCS 5/3-1 through 3-5 (West 2008).

As explained above, the Municipal Code sets forth two qualifications for candidates: they must meet the Election Code’s standards for a "qualified voter," and they must have "resided in" the municipality for one year preceding the election. The location of section 3-2's "business of the United States" exception—in the Election Code, and in an article of the Election Code dedicated exclusively to voter qualification—supports the conclusion that the exception applies only to the Election Code’s "qualified voter" standard, and not to any supplemental candidate qualifications located outside the Election Code.

Justice Bertita Lampkin dissented:

The majority failed ... to move past the issue of establishing residency to the relevant analysis, which turns on whether the candidate’s residency, which he had indisputably held, was abandoned when he worked in Washington, D.C., and leased his Chicago home.

The Board’s ruling—that the candidate in 2009 and 2010 did not abandon his status as a resident of Chicago and, thus, remained a resident of Chicago even though he was largely absent from this city from January 2009 until October 1, 2010—was not clearly erroneous. Intent is an issue of fact (Delk, 112 Ill. App. 3d at 738), and the majority acknowledges that the Board’s fact findings were not against the manifest weight of the evidence. This acknowledgment should have ended this case, and resulted in this court affirming the circuit court’s judgment, which confirmed the Board’s ruling that the preponderance of the evidence established that the candidate never formed an intent to either change or terminate his residence in Chicago, or establish his residence in Washington, D.C., or any place other than Chicago.

Because the candidate had established his Chicago residency, it is presumed to continue until the contrary is shown, and the burden of proof is on the person who claims that there has been a change.

Justice Lampkin further noted:

Finally, the majority’s decision certainly “involves a question of such importance that it should be decided by the Supreme Court.” Supreme Court Rule 316 (Official Reports Advance Sheet No. 26 (Dec. 20, 2006), R. 316, eff. Dec. 6, 2006. Consequently, I believe this panel should certify this case under Supreme Court Rule 316, which would permit review of the majority’s decision in the most expeditious manner possible. The majority, however, has refused to certify this case under Rule 316. As of the writing of this dissent, there is less than one month before the election and even less time for absentee ballots to be mailed out and returned. An opinion of such wide-ranging import and not based on established law but, rather, on the whims of two judges, should not be allowed to stand.

That means the Supreme Court may not hear the case in time for the start of early voting next week.

It's a good thing for Rahmbo that "Emanuel" is easier to spell than "Murkowski."

Gentler economics

Duke's Dan Ariely suggests accepting irrationality in designing economic policies:

When it comes to designing things in our physical world, we all understand how flawed we are and design the physical world around us accordingly. We realize that we can’t run very fast or far, so we invent cars and design public transportation. We understand our physical limitations, and we design steps, electric lights, heating, cooling, etc., to overcome these deficiencies. ...

What I find amazing is that when it comes to designing the mental and cognitive realm, we somehow assume that human beings are without bounds. We cling to the idea that we are fully rational beings, and that, like mental Supermen, we can figure out anything. ...

Don’t misunderstand me, I value standard economics and I think it provides important and useful insights into human endeavors. But I also think that it is incomplete, and that accepting all economic principles on faith is ill-advised and even dangerous. If we’re going to try to understand human behavior and use this knowledge to design the world around us—including institutions such as taxes, education systems, and financial markets—we need to use additional tools and other disciplines, including psychology, sociology, and philosophy.

Parker in the right place

The last couple of days have reminded us we live in Chicago, severely limiting Parker's walk time. I don't want to keep him outside more than 15 minutes when it's below -15°C. He doesn't understand hypothermia, and he's got a double coat, so to him it seems like I'm being completely arbitrary. He probably doesn't remember the day it got down to -27°C and he fell over, whimpering, because his paws were too cold to walk after less than five minutes outside.

So he's at day camp today, and I'm working on an interesting coding problem.

I hope he comes home really, really tired.

It happens every year

At least the sun is out:

We had days last year close to -17°C, but it was last this cold on 5 February 2009. Parker is bored, but even he didn't seem to want to stay outside this morning.

As an aside, because of the radiator in my living room the Inner Drive Technology Worldwide Data Center that I can't turn off, I have two windows open right now and it's still 24°C3°C above normal—over by the server rack.

The UK debates a weighty issue

Should they go to year-round Daylight Saving Time? Scotland says no:

Britain currently sets its clocks at Greenwich Mean Time in fall and an hour ahead of that in spring. (New York is generally five hours behind Britain; Western Europe is an hour ahead).

The problem is that while a clock change might bring afternoon joy to London, it would condemn Inverness in the far reaches of Scotland — in relative terms, about 700 miles north of Montreal — to long, dark winter mornings with sunrises as late as 10 a.m.

Even worse, many Scots feel, it would mean giving in to English politicians. Though the devolution of British politics has given Scotland its own legislature and responsibility for many of its own affairs, the clock is still controlled by Parliament in London.

(You can see what sunrises and sunsets would look like up there at Weather Now.)

Daylight Saving Time has generated controversy for almost a century now, with good and bad arguments on both sides. I'm almost indifferent, though I do get annoyed waking up in the dark at the beginning of November.


My reading stack has now passed my own height (175 cm):

This happened because:

  • I spent 18 months reading a lot of stuff for school;
  • Friends kept recommending books to me;
  • There have always been books I really should read (like the three-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson my mom left me); and
  • Amazon is just so convenient.

(Some of those are gifts, too.)

I have therefore declared a moratorium on buying books from Amazon until I get through at least one of those shelves.

Then there's the problem of the 12 movies stacked up on my DVD player I have yet to watch...