Yah, my old phone ist kaput. It works fine, if you can guess the contents of the bottom 40% of the screen. Right now it's transferring all its contents to my new phone, after which I'll start going through all my MFA settings, email, sounds, pictures, etc.
I really would rather be doing something else. At least this didn't happen while I was traveling.
Last night my phone's screen started to fail. It turned out to be really good at failing, because by the time I got home, it was completely black. I rebooted the phone this morning and I can get in, at least.
The worst part about a failing mobile phone is that you could lose all your multi-factor authentication data. If you've ever had to unwind MFA, one site at a time, you know what I'm talking about.
The nearest T-Mobile store opens in half an hour. Cassie and I will be there.
The North Carolina supreme court reversed itself on a major Gerrymandering question for the simple reason that it flipped parties. Guess which way:
Last year, Democratic justices on the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that maps of the state’s legislative and congressional districts drawn to give Republicans lopsided majorities were illegal gerrymanders. On Friday, the same court led by a newly elected Republican majority looked at the same facts, reversed itself and said it had no authority to act.
The practical effect is to enable the Republican-controlled General Assembly to scrap the court-ordered State House, Senate and congressional district boundaries that were used in elections last November, and draw new maps skewed in Republicans’ favor for elections in 2024. The 5-to-2 ruling fell along party lines, reflecting the takeover of the court by Republican justices in partisan elections last November.
Legal scholars said the ruling also seemed likely to derail a potentially momentous case now before the U.S. Supreme Court involving the same maps. In that case, Moore v. Harper, leaders of the Republican-run legislature have argued that the U.S. Constitution gives state lawmakers the sole authority to set rules for state elections and political maps, and that state courts have no role in overseeing them.
I've got $1 to bet you that they'd have gone the other way if Democrats controlled the legislature. Note, also, that North Carolina's judicial districts also have a patina of Governor Gerry about them, and the state has a slight (1-2 point) Republican majority. But in the long run, a loss of faith in the courts doesn't hurt Republicans, as they generally don't want to govern, but to rule. You know, like their Russian friends.
I'm chasing down a bug that caused what we in the biz call "unexpected results" and the end-users call "wrong." I've fixed it in both our API and our UI, but in order to test it, I need the API built in our dev/test environment. That takes about 18 minutes. Plenty of time to read all of this:
Finally, the Times explains how last year's 257 traffic fatalities in New York City undermine the claims that "Vision Zero" is working. But Strong Towns already told you that.
OK, build succeeded, fix is now in Dev/Test...on with the show!
- Google has updated its satellite photos of Mariupol, clearly showing the destruction from Russia's invasion and subsequent siege.
- Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Lisa Murkowsky (R-AK) have introduced legislation to force the Supreme Court—read: Justices Thomas (R$) and Gorsuch (R)—to adopt a binding code of ethics. Presumably a Democratic bill that would actually let Congress set the Court's ethical standards will come soon.
- On Monday, the city will cut down a bur oak they estimate has lived over 250 years.
- The US Army will rename a Virginia fort after Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg and Lt. Col. Charity Adams, replacing the name of a disgraced traitor named Robert E. Lee.
- Carolyn Bryant Donham, whose false accusation that teenager Emmett Till whistled at her resulted in her fellow racists lynching the boy, died on Tuesday at 88.
- Emma Durand-Wood discovers what many of us already knew: having a fitness tracker, and getting your steps in, makes you very aware of walkable environments.
- Nicholas Dagen Bloom's new book explains why public transit in the US has done poorly for the last 75 years (hint: racism).
- Max Holleran suggests a way to make US cities cleaner (and encourage more public transit use): make parking impossible.
- Bruce Schneier suggests a publicly-funded AI could help save democracy—or at least offset the likely harms from only having privately-owned AIs.
- Three Colorado teens face murder charges after an evening of throwing rocks from an overpass killed a 20-year-old driver.
- In a less destructive prank gone wrong, seniors at Northridge Prep, a Catholic high school in north suburban Niles, accidentally let a steer loose in the village this morning.
Finally, as we approach the 50th anniversary of Gary Gygax creating Dungeons & Dragons, Christopher Borrelli suggests putting a statue of him up in downtown Lake Geneva. I concur. Or, since he spent the first seven years of his life just a few blocks away from where I'm sitting right now (on Kenmore near Wrigley Field), why not put one there, too? (One of my favorite memories from childhood is playing 5 minutes of AD&D with Gygax as DM.)
Cassie and I had a lovely time yesterday afternoon. I grabbed some pizza at one of my childhood favorite places, then we did a 5½ kilometer walk around the Skokie Lagoons:
She seemed to enjoy it:
Later this afternoon I'll jot down all of the news I didn't read while having a great time in the forest yesterday.
I got an update today from Metra about the Ravenswood Union Pacific North station, after sending an inquiry last week. Before I get to that, let's take a look at photographic evidence that we've had to use the "temporary" platform north of Lawrence Avenue for just under 12 years now:
That's the Google Street View from July 2011 showing that Metra has already closed the 1950s-era inbound platform (on the left) and opened the "temporary" platform (on the right).
I took these two photos a week ago, but I could have taken them last September with only one minor change (the new "temporary" fence by the entrance to the new platform):
OK, so now that we've established that (a) we haven't had even a semi-permanent inbound platform since the middle of President Obama's first term, and (b) neither Metra nor the UPRR has done any noticeable work on the new new-but-unfinished platform since I last posted news seven months ago, here is what a Metra spokesperson told me this afternoon:
Per our station project Construction Team, a late July 2023 completion is anticipated. There are a few items remaining that need to be addressed to complete the project.
- Structural tiles, which the manufacturer has delayed delivery of. Our Team has 3 other options to address this issue that they are looking into and are actively progressing a tile alternative.
- The waterproofing along the edge of the platform and the bridge abutment (Lawrence & Leland) that requires the removal of track and ballast by Union Pacific Railroad will be scheduled by UP forces. Ballast work could not be performed during winter months when ground is frozen.
- Guardrail fencing change work at Leland Bridge is proceeding through redesign to accommodate a conduit system. Contractor estimates work end of May/early June.
- A solution to the hairline cracks in the platform surface has been determined. A coating to address this issue cannot be applied until weather conditions permit.
- Additional CDOT crossing work required along with the asphalt overlay patching in the street cannot occur until the asphalt plants reopen next month.
With a project of this magnitude that entailed the replacement of 22 bridges on the UPN Line, as well as a complete station project, its impact on the community was/is unavoidable and cannot be understated. Metra is making every attempt possible to improve the dates on the remaining items and complete the work, as soon as possible.
I knew about #3, and previously reported about #1. The rest just frustrates me to no end.
The UPRR and Metra should have completed this project in 2018. I will remind everyone that four years of the delay happened because former Illinois governor Bruce Rauner (R) cut funding to everything based solely on his extreme anti-government ideology. (Makes you wonder why he wanted to govern, right?) And once again, I will remind everyone that if I had the power, I would sentence the former governor to stand on the platform for two hours a day, every day, for a duration equal to the entire delay to the project that he caused. Even that sentence seems lenient.
I hope that my contact at Metra has accurate information, because I'm really tired of standing in the rain just 20 meters from what appears to be a perfectly serviceable but inaccessible shelter.
Two stories, related only in the self-perception of their protagonists. First, this morning Fox "News" announced that Tucker Carlson uttered his last bigotry for them on Friday:
A reason was not immediately provided.
“Mr. Carlson’s last program was Friday April 21st,” a statement read. “Fox News Tonight will air live at 8 PM/ET starting this evening as an interim show helmed by rotating FOX News personalities until a new host is named.”
The shock announcement ends Carlson’s meteoric rise at Fox News, where his brand of xenophobia, white grievance, and hate transformed Carlson into a singular force at the conservative news network—and its top presenter. Tucker Carlson Tonight has also been labeled the most racist show in the history of cable news.
Meanwhile, a quarter of the world away, the Chinese ambassador to France said out loud what China and Russia have said privately for years, with unfortunate results:
Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to France, said the countries in eastern Europe that gained independence following the USSR’s fall in 1991 did not have “effective” sovereign status in international law.
Officials in Europe reacted furiously, especially in the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, which are in constant fear of meddling and even attack from neighboring Russia.
Lu has "pulled the rug out from under China’s intention of being any sort of mediator between Russia and Ukraine,” tweeted Sari Arho Havrén, an adjunct professor at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, a research organization run by the American and German militaries. “Not recognizing Ukraine as a sovereign state, exactly as Russia claims, makes China 100% on Russia’s side.”
Actually, I suspect China doesn't really care what happens to Ukraine, or the Baltic states, being focused as they are on an island 100 kilometers off the coast of Quanzhou. (You could even say they have worried about the island formosa the time since they parted ways, but that's cheap even for me.)
I've got the popcorn out to watch the fallout from both events.
I moved to my house exactly six months ago today, but only this past Saturday did I unpack the last box. I had asked two different carpenters about building in bookshelves in what I designated a library even before I moved in. Both carpenters ghosted me after taking measurements. (Great business practices, guys.)
So in January I went back to 57th Street Bookcase in Evanston, from which my mom and I had gotten bookshelves at various times going back to the mid-1990s. The bookcases arrived Friday, allowing me to transform this:
(The coffee table came from 57th St as well.)
I spent a couple hours enjoying the finished room over the weekend. Even Cassie appears to like it better.
The new bookcases are cherry, so they'll darken over time. They should match the older ones in a couple of years.
This weekend involved about 5 hours of dog walks, including 2 with another dog, a disruption to Cassie's environments (new bookshelves, details later), an art fair, and my friend's two toddlers (ages 2 and 4). We're both pooped.
Cassie literally. I know what she ate yesterday, and I'm so glad I got to see it again today.