The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Too much to do

With only a few hours to go before I jet out of Chicago, I'm squeezing in client work and organizing my apartment while on conference calls. Also, I'm sending these to my Kindle:

Back to debugging...

Judge Durkin orders a marriage

Illinois' marriage equality act doesn't take effect for 7 months, but Federal District Judge Thomas Durkin (and I) believes the law's passage is enough to let a couple settle their affairs as they intended:

Vernita Gray and Patricia Ewert, will be issued their license early by the Cook County clerk’s office because one of the women is currently battling terminal cancer, their attorneys said.

County Clerk David Orr said he would comply with the order by U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin

Orr said he also welcomed the ruling.

“As a supporter of same-sex marriage, I’m pleased Judge Durkin granted relief to Patricia Ewert and Vernita Gray in this difficult time,” he said in a statement.

This is the right result. The couple have a compelling reason to marry, and a delay would needlessly complicate their lives even though marriage will be generally available to all couples in just a few months. There's a little part of me that says the state marriage law should prevail here, but a bigger part of me that demands to know why the legislature put in an 8-month delay in the law's implementation. It's not like any of the county clerks has to remodel their offices to accommodate marriage equality; they just have to produce marriage licenses.

So, good on Judge Durkin. This is not the first time I've wanted to buy the man a drink. I expect it won't be the last.

It's Monday? The 25th?

Wow, this weekend was busier than I anticipated.

You know what's coming. Links!

Only a few more hours before I leave for the weekend. Time to jam on the billables...

Things I found while listening to a conference call

Tomorrow afternoon is the Day of the Doctor already, and then in a little more than four days I'm off to faraway lands. Meanwhile, I'm watching a performance test that we'll repeat on Monday after we release a software upgrade.

So while riveted to this Live Meeting session, I am pointedly not reading these articles:

Perhaps more to the point, I'm not finishing up the release that will obviate the very performance test I'm watching right now. That is another story.

Oh, also...

As interesting as infrastructure is to most people, it's possible this was a bigger story yesterday:

Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday put his signature on a historic measure making Illinois the 16th state to allow same-sex marriage, capping a 40-year push for gay rights that picked up major momentum during the past decade.

The bill-signing illustrated the rapidly changing views in Illinois and the nation on gay rights. Supporters first introduced an anti-discrimination bill in the legislature in 1974. It didn't became law until 2005. It took an additional six years for civil unions to be approved, but only about half that time for the gay marriage measure.

Still, support for same-sex marriage is far from universal in Illinois. As politicians talked up the merits of gay marriage in Chicago, down in Springfield, a crowd gathered for an exorcism by the local Catholic bishop in protest of the governor's action.

Excellent. Illinois becomes the 16th state to achieve marriage equality, and the best the opposition can do is hold a (literally) medieval ceremony down the street. Welcome to the 21st Century.

This brings the total number of people living in U.S. marriage-equality jurisdictions to 109.2 million, roughly 35% of the population.

Chicago transit notes

After a year, the Wells Street bridge has reopened:

Just before 6:15 a.m., construction workers in reflective vests and hard hats dragged orange traffic barrels to the sidewalk, clearing the traffic lanes for the first time since last November.

Moments later, the first person crossed the bridge: Bike messenger Lionel Floyd. He pedaled south and appeared surprised to see a crowd of reporters waiting for him at Wacker Drive.

The $50 million reconstruction was aimed at extending the lifespan of the while maintaining its classic appearance. With the exception of two planned closures in this spring, CTA train service continued during the project.

Chicago infrastructure projects keep moving ahead. Last week Tribune transportation correspondent Jon Hilkevitch reported the Federal government may provide more funding for a $4 bn project to fix the north-side El:

That doesn't guarantee funding under the "new starts" grant program, but the transit administration allowed the CTA to apply because the Red-Purple Modernization project will add much-needed capacity and deliver more reliable service to the most heavily traveled CTA rail line, officials said.

The project will involve rebuilding the Red and Purple Line tracks, replacing stations and overhauling viaducts and the elevated embankment from north of Belmont through Evanston.

Various options and designs are under consideration and would cost between roughly $2 billion to more than $4 billion to engineer and construct, officials said.

The project is still in the planning phase.

Where I've been (corrected)

After some thought and reflection, I realize I've spent more time in some parts of North America than I remembered the other day:

As before, red are places I've been to but not stayed overnight; amber indicates at least one overnight; blue shows multiple visits; and green means I've lived, worked, or spent more than 30 aggregate days there.

The mapping applet is here.

One meeting to bind them all...

I had enough time during today's 8-hour meeting to queue up some articles to read later. Here they are:

As for today's meeting, this.

New route to Europe

Geography is fun. It explains how Canadian airline WestJet can manage their newest trans-Atlantic flight which gets to Dublin in a little more than 4 hours using a 737-700:

Dublin itself might not be that strange, but this isn’t coming from a big city. No, it’s actually going to be a flight from St John’s, way out in Newfoundland. The metro area, if you can call it that, has almost 200,000 people. That’s good enough to be the 20th largest metro area in Canada. Yeah… 20th.

For WestJet, there is very little at stake here. The flight is surprisingly short to those of us who don’t pay much attention to Canadian geography. Remember how I said that WestJet already flies from St John’s to Orlando? Dublin is less than 25 miles further from St John’s. Via Great Circle Mapper

You always think of Transatlantic flying requiring long flights, but St John’s is so far out there that the eastbound flight is scheduled gate-to-gate at a mere 4h15m. It’s shorter than Vancouver to Toronto. Heck, it’s shorter than Phoenix to Philly. So this will be easy for the airline’s 136-seat 737-700 to operate.

It leaves St John’s at 1115p and arrives Dublin at 7a. It turns around quickly, departing at 820a, getting back to St John’s at 955a. WestJet likely would just leave that airplane overnight in St John’s otherwise, so the amount of extra aircraft time being used here is minimal.

The 3,300 km flight is just a little farther than L.A. to Atlanta (3,150 km) and a little closer than Washington to Las Vegas (3,350 km), and those city pairs are easily served by 737s today.