The National Weather Service has confirmed that Monday's storm spawned 7 tornadoes over Northern Illinois, including one that skipped through the far-North Side neighborhood Rogers Park:
Local news site Block Club Chicago reports:
The tornado saw estimated peak winds of 175 km/h, according to the weather service. It formed at about 4 p.m. Monday and traveled about 5 km, traveling roughly from Touhy Avenue near Lincoln Avenue and traveling eastbound to Lake Michigan.
The storm toppled dozens of large trees along Jarvis, crushing cars and leaving roads impassable well into Tuesday. Street lights and power lines were also downed along Jarvis, with numerous cars totaled and houses damaged from the falling debris.
Damage was spotted along Jarvis Avenue from about Western Avenue to the lakefront, said Ald. Maria Hadden (49th). Multiple trees were downed along a four-block stretch of Jarvis from Paulina Avenue to the lakefront. At least two city blocks were impassable due to fallen debris.
No major injuries have been reported from the storm, Hadden said.
The National Weather Service estimated the path:
They also published a montage of radar images of the derecho at one-hour intervals:
And about a block away from me, this already-dying maple finally gave up the ghost yesterday afternoon, to the detriment of an old Toyota and anyone trying to drive down the street:
Presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president Joe Biden, who I hope will have shortened that title by 5 words by January 20th, has picked US Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate:
Ms. Harris, 55, is the first Black woman and the first person of Indian descent to be nominated for national office by a major party, and only the fourth woman in history to be chosen for one of their presidential tickets. She brings to the race a far more vigorous campaign style than Mr. Biden’s, including a gift for capturing moments of raw political electricity on the debate stage and elsewhere, and a personal identity and family story that many find inspiring.
A pragmatic moderate who spent most of her career as a prosecutor, Ms. Harris was seen throughout the vice-presidential search as among the safest choices available to Mr. Biden. She has been a reliable ally of the Democratic establishment, with flexible policy priorities that largely mirror Mr. Biden’s, and her supporters argued that she could reinforce Mr. Biden’s appeal to Black voters and women without stirring particularly vehement opposition on the right or left.
After leaving the presidential race in December, Ms. Harris turned her attention back to the Senate and found new purpose amid a wave of nationwide protests this spring against racism and police brutality. She marched beside protesters and forcefully championed proposals to overhaul policing and make lynching a federal crime, often speaking with a kind of clarity that had eluded her in the presidential primaries on economic issues like health care and taxation.
I thought Harris or Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, though I would have agreed with any of his top-5 picks as we knew them earlier today. But Harris seems like exactly the right choice.
Note that I am, and will continue to be, a financial contributor to the Biden—now Biden/Harris—campaign.
A derecho blasted through Iowa and Illinois yesterday, blasting 120 km/h winds through Chicago and spawning at least one tornado two neighborhoods over from me:
Although it hasn’t been officially confirmed, meteorologists said it’s possible a tornado touched down in Rogers Park on the Far North Side, before heading out over Lake Michigan, where the funnel became a waterspout.
The derecho blew in from Iowa, where winds surpassed 100 mph. It swept east across Illinois and into Indiana, with winds of 65 to 115 km/h, with some gusts as high as 145 km/h, the weather service reported, but the Chicago area mostly dodged the direst warnings as no deaths or serious injuries were reported, forecasters said.
The storm continued across Lake Michigan until finally dissipating over eastern Michigan.
In my neighborhood we had lots of tree limbs down but apparently not so much property damage. We have some ailing ash trees nearby that fared particularly poorly:
Sixteen hours later, the weather is delightful, and predicted to stay that way for a couple of days.
Josh Marshall has a good summary of why things suck for parents, kids, and teachers right now:
But the plan [New York] city and most of [New York] state has come up with shows how limited this can be and how much we’ve made a fetish of in-school instruction. There are two big reasons to have in-school instruction. The first and most important is the educational, social and emotional development and well-being of children. The second is the impact on the economy. Many parents can’t work if their children aren’t in school and to the extent they can their children’s remote learning lacks the support it needs.
I think there is a real question whether in-school instruction on these terms is even worth it. At best kids will be in school 1/3 of the time – and it may be less – and under such straightened and perhaps nerve-wracking conditions that most of the educational and social benefit is actually lost. Watching the process as a journalist and a parent it seems to me that the school system and political authorities have been so focused on the absolute necessity of ‘reopening’ the schools that they’ve ended up with something that is not obviously better than full remote learning and called it success.
The truth is that we’re in a horrible situation. We have failed as a country to control the virus and because of that we’re forced into no-win situations and choices which are all bad. As much as anything we simply lack the kind of information that allows us to make informed, smart decisions. And yet September is less than four weeks away.
Meanwhile, Downtown Chicago suffered a coordinated attack of looters last night for no apparent reason, though police returning fire from a suspect and injuring him yesterday afternoon may have been the excuse. Since the looting took place across town and the looters came with U-Haul trucks I can't say I have any sympathy for them on this occasion. If it turns out that any of the looters were right-wing agitators, I will be disappointed but not surprised.
Oh, and the government of Lebanon resigned.
Welcome to stop #29 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Half Acre Beer Co., Balmoral Brewery, 2048 W Balmoral Ave., Chicago
Train line: Union Pacific North, Ravenswood (Also CTA Brown Line, Damen)
Time from Chicago: 16 minutes (Zone B)
Distance from station: 1.7 km (1.6 km from CTA)
Half Acre actually operates two locations: its original brewpub on Lincoln Ave., and its newer and much larger brewery/restaurant/beer garden just south of Rosehill Cemetery. Both are on the Brews and Choos list, but the beer garden is open this summer while the Lincoln Brewery only has curb-side pickup.
I'm actually cheating a little. You'll have to walk more than 1,500 meters from the Ravenswood Metra station to get to the Balmoral Brewery, but Half Acre makes excellent beer and you'll have to pass two other taprooms (Empirical and Spiteful) to get here. It's worth the trip—especially if you make a summer afternoon of all three.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, you'll need a reservation that costs $15.45, which they apply to your bill. Also they've temporarily curtailed food service and dogs on the patio.
As for the beer, their Daisy Cutter Pale Ale (5.2%) has remained one of my go-tos for years. Try their other pales and IPAs when you visit; they're all excellent. And see what else they've made that month.
When they don't have a raging pandemic to deal with, they serve good pub food including weekend brunch.
Beer garden? Yes
Dogs OK? Suspended during the pandemic
Serves food? Suspended during the pandemic
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes
A friend I met just last November died on Friday night at 32. She owned Heirloom Books in Chicago's Edgewater community, one of the last independent used-book shops in the neighborhood. (Always a "shop;" never a "store.") She'd only recently adopted a kitten, Pilar, who I met a few weeks ago.
Her father posted on Facebook that she died "peacefully but unexpectedly...from complications arising from a long-standing illness which she fought valiantly against over many years, but which few people were aware of." I was aware of it, and I can say without hesitation it was not inherently fatal. But the endlessness and isolation of the pandemic, exacerbated by a president who's too stupid and too narcissistic to have the least comprehension or compassion a human being needs to call himself one, surely contributed. So did the difficulty of getting affordable health care here.
I'm sad a friend died, and I'm angry that in almost any other country she wouldn't have.
My heart goes out to her parents and her sister.
Welcome to stop #28 on the Brews and Choos project.
Brewery: Sketchbook Brewing Co. Skokie Taproom, 4901 Main St., Skokie
Train line: CTA Yellow Line, Dempster-Skokie
Time from Chicago: 48 minutes
Distance from station: 900 m
I have gone to Sketchbook Brewing in Evanston for years, so naturally I made a special trip to their Skokie Taproom for its grand opening last Friday. We had perfect weather, social distancing, hand sanitizer, and good beer. The brewery occupies the front part of a 1950s-era light-industrial building next to the CTA, under high-tension power lines, on a medium-busy street—but don't let that stop you.
As they had just opened that afternoon, they had a couple of operational hiccups, but nothing that detracted from our enjoyment. I stuck with the Orange Door IPA as they had just finished a run of the No Parking Citra IPA and didn't have any in Skokie that night.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, they require reservations. And a tip: If you're coming from downtown Chicago on a weeknight, change to the Linden-bound Purple Line Express at Belmont and shave 10 minutes off your trip.
Beer garden? Yes, in front
Dogs OK? Yes
Serves food? Snacks only; "BYOF" (bring your own food) policy
Would hang out with a book? Yes
Would hang out with friends? Yes
Would go back? Yes
I took the Mini out for a spin yesterday evening, and got a couple of cool shots:
Writing for The Week, David Linker lays out the problem confronting the Republican Party even if they get a solid thumping this November:
[Y]es, it would be very good for the Republican Party of Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, Lindsey Graham, Louie Gohmert, Devin Nunes, and all the rest of them to be leveled to the ground so a wholly new party — a more reasonable, responsible, principled, and honorable party — can be built in its place.
There's just one difficulty with the plan: It does nothing to address the root of the problem, which no one — not the minimalist Trump haters, and not the fiercest maximalists out to pummel the party's establishment — has a clue how to solve.
That is the problem of the Republican voter.
The voters who swooned for Sarah Palin in 2008; who seriously considered giving the nod to Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Ben Carson, and Rick Santorum in 2012; who four years later elevated a reality-show conman to the head of their party, cast ballots for him to win the presidency, and have rallied around him ever since — most of these voters remain undaunted in their conviction that politics is primarily about the venting of grievances and the trolling of opponents. The dumber and angrier and more shameless, the better.
Could anything change these voters — turning them, not into liberals or progressives obviously, but into thoughtful citizens capable of engaging with reality, thinking about actual problems, and rewarding public servants who make a good-faith effort to respond to them? The honest truth is that I don't have the slightest clue how to make it happen. Which also means that I have no idea how the United States might work its way back to having two civically responsible parties instead of just one.
Which also means we will have to go through some version of all this nonsense again in 2022, 2024, 2026...until something shifts and these wankers grow up.
I admire the New York Times for digging into how our pandemic response was so much worse than every other rich country, but ultimately, we already knew:
First, the United States faced longstanding challenges in confronting a major pandemic. It is a large country at the nexus of the global economy, with a tradition of prioritizing individualism over government restrictions. That tradition is one reason the United States suffers from an unequal health care system that has long produced worse medical outcomes — including higher infant mortality and diabetes rates and lower life expectancy — than in most other rich countries.
The second major theme is one that public health experts often find uncomfortable to discuss because many try to steer clear of partisan politics. But many agree that the poor results in the United States stem in substantial measure from the performance of the Trump administration.
In no other high-income country — and in only a few countries, period — have political leaders departed from expert advice as frequently and significantly as the Trump administration. President Trump has said the virus was not serious; predicted it would disappear; spent weeks questioning the need for masks; encouraged states to reopen even with large and growing caseloads; and promoted medical disinformation.
Some Republican governors have followed his lead and also played down the virus, while others have largely followed the science. Democratic governors have more reliably heeded scientific advice, but their performance in containing the virus has been uneven.
The Republicans who have done this, up to and including the president, need to face serious consequences for their inaction and malfeasance.
Here in Chicago, we've lost yet another convention, bringing our economic losses into the billions, including an estimated 1.3 million lost room-nights this year alone.