Today's weather was finally spring-like, meaning twenty degrees warmer away from the lake than near it. But Parker still got over an hour of walkies, I've gotten (so far) about 18,000 steps, and all the windows in my house are open for the first time in about a month.
Also, I made a decent showing yesterday at a trivia tournament (tied for first place, but lost the tiebreaker), and today at a Euchre tournament (upper half of the pack, 7-2-1 overall record).
That is all. Time to feed the dog, and maybe walk another couple thousand steps.
The New York Times notes the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death:
Poet, playwright, actor and theatrical-company shareholder, William Shakespeare (sometimes spelled Shakspeare, or Shagspere, or Shaxpere, or Shaxberd, or any number of blessed ways) died today, April 23, 1616, at his home in Stratford-upon-Avon. He was, more or less, 52. His passing was confirmed by his daughter Judith.
Over the course of three decades, Mr. Shakespeare rose from working-class obscurity in Warwickshire to become — acclaimed for his penetrating insights into the human character, his eloquent, flexible and infinitely expressive verse; and his readiness to burst the bounds of the English language (drawing on a vocabulary of more than 25,000 words).
The obituary includes pop-out notes and links, making it worth a few minutes of time to read.
Paul Krugman leverages the Treasury's announcement that Alexander Hamilton is staying on the $10 note to remind us that Hamilton would have supported stepped-up U.S. government borrowing to fund infrastructure:
I have read Hamilton’s pathbreaking economic policy manifestoes, in particular his 1790 “First Report on the Public Credit,” a document that remains amazingly relevant today.
In that report, Hamilton proposed that the federal government assume and honor all of the debts individual states had run up during the Revolutionary War, imposing new tariffs on imported goods to raise the needed revenue. He believed that doing so would produce important benefits....
Unfortunately, policy makers won’t do the right thing, largely because they keep listening to fiscal scolds — people who insist that public debt is a terrible thing even when borrowing costs almost nothing. The influence of these scolds, their virtual veto over fiscal policy, somehow persists even though their predictions of soaring interest rates and runaway inflation keep not coming true.
The point is that Alexander Hamilton knew better.
Elsewhere, the Times and other evidence-based publications are welcoming the changes to the $20 note.
Engineer Jeff Speck is dismayed that his home town, Lowell, Mass., is planning to replace an unattractive and un-walkable street with an equally-un-walkable design:
Imagine my surprise, then, when I came across an article earlier this month about the city’s plans for its southern gateway, the Lord Overpass. This site is particularly important to Lowell, being an area of major redevelopment as well as the key link from the train station (at right in the image below) to downtown (beyond the canal to the left). This collection of streets—a squared traffic circle floating above a highway—is due for reconstruction, and the city came up with the smart idea of putting the depressed highway back up at grade to create more of an urban boulevard condition.
So, let’s zoom in and describe what we see:
- Four lanes dedicated to motion straight through, just like the now-submerged highway;
- Three lanes dedicated to turning motions, two of which swoop around the edges in great curves;
- Two dedicated bus lanes, each about 17 feet wide, curb-to-curb. (A bus is 8 1/2 feet wide, so perhaps the goal is to squeeze two past each other?);
- Bike lanes that are partly protected, partly unprotected, and partly merged into the bus lanes;
- A collection of treeless concrete wedges, medians, and “pork chops” directing the flow of vehicles;
- No parallel parking on either the main road or any of the roads intersecting it; and
- Green swales lining the streets, resulting in set-back properties to the one side and open space to the other. (Note that the open space at the bottom of the drawing is too shallow to put a building on.)
The engineering drawings are horrifying. As Speck says, to the engineering firm Lowell hired, everything looks like a nail.
Comedian and writer John Hodgman endorsed Hillary Clinton on his blog this week, making the argument I've been making to my friends for years:
No one can succeed 100% of the time in our system. But I think she can foster policies that will capitalize on the initial gains made by President Obama, whom I supported and still do, and surely, if slowly, move our nation closer to the ideals that I embrace.
Will it be fast? No. But there is a lot to do to shift the the nation’s policies back after the slow, economically rightward/socially intolerant swing that began with Ronald Reagan and peaked with the reelection of George W. Bush in 2004.
I don’t think this is a time to laugh at the Republican party.
I think it is a moment to consolidate and continue our gains, enact new progressive policies; let existing progressive policies mature in place; offer independent and new voters the allure of continuity, professionalism, and effectiveness; and gradually regain the congress.
Donald Trump's speech is fundamentally different than other national politicians':
Word choice isn’t the only way Trump differs from his presidential candidate contemporaries. Jennifer Sclafani, an associate professor at Georgetown University who studies the construction of political identity through language, said Trump is an enigma — the “anti-politician” when it comes to talking.
According to Sclafani, Trump doesn’t often [use discourse markers]. Usually, she said, he starts his answers with “I.” But when Trump does want to divert his answers, however, Sclafani says that’s where he gets tripped up.
For example, in the first debate, he was asked to explain why he once supported a liberal, single-payer health care system. He responded: “First of all, I’d like to just go back to one. In July of 2004, I came out strongly against the war with Iraq, because it was going to destabilize the Middle East. And I’m the only one on this stage that knew that and had the vision to say it.”
Trump was trying to illustrate that he has had stances contrary to the Republican party before, and that they were correct. But at the time, Sclafani said it came off “totally incoherent,” because he combined the discourse marker “first of all” with a complete change of subject.
Of course, criticizing Trump for the way he speaks is like criticizing Mussolini for having bad taste in clothing. It really only shows you one expression of a much deeper pathology.
One more photo from Oregon. The coffee shop I stopped in Saturday morning, Looney Bean, has a fenced yard by the Deschutes River, and allows dogs. Like this one, who eventually let me throw her the ball:
The Treasury has dropped its plan to change the $10 note, and instead, has decided to put Harriet Tubman on the $20:
The move [Treasury Secretary Jack] Lew is announcing Wednesday is intended as a way to thread the needle between women's groups who have been advocating for gender diversity on U.S. currency and fans of Hamilton, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, the playwright and star of the hit Broadway musical about the nation's first Treasury secretary. Miranda lobbied Lew to keep Hamilton on the $10 when he visited Washington last month.
To appease those who have been looking forward to a woman on the $10, Treasury will will change the back of the $10 -- which now has an image of the Treasury Department -- to include women suffragists, according to a person familiar with the plans.
The new bill was set to be unveiled in 2020, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment extending voting rights to women.
This is a good outcome.
I'm just going to re-publish Bruce Schneier's post from this morning:
GCHQ detected a potential pre-publication leak of a Harry Potter book, and alerted the publisher.
Is this what British national intelligence is supposed to be doing?
What, exactly, is the British equivalent of the NSA looking at?
Programmer Sean Hickey demonstrates the evolution of a software engineer.