The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay there

Recaps of the debate comprise just a few of the things I haven't had time to read today:

Back to my meetings.

Debate slow blogging 2016

Sigh. Here we go again.

21:14 EDT: Fifteen minutes on the 2nd Amendment, argued by someone who has never read the thing. And now, abortion, which apparently will be overturned "automatically" if he appoints pro-life judges.

21:19: No, Donald, you can't rip the baby out of the womb in the 9th month. I mean, FFS.

21:22: It took fully 15 minutes for him to descend into a stream-of-consciousness. That's pretty good self-control. (Did he just say "bad hombres?")

21:24: This, from my cousin.

21:26: No score after 4. Arguably more useful for the typical Chicagoan than this debate.

21:29: You know, in any other election, it would be really weird for a major candidate to say that the Russians have committed espionage against her campaign.

21:32: This is a long way from Lincoln-Douglas, isn't it?

21:36: "You're not going to find a quote from me." Oh, dearie dearie dear.

21:40: She's going to double my taxes? I'm absolutely certain that is mathematically impossible for me, but if she doubled your taxes it would still be...what, zero?

21:49: "Excuse me. My turn."

21:54: So...he's projecting the incitement to violence that he has perpetrated, onto her?

21:55: Apparently some people have objected to the Ewoks comment at 21:24. This only proves the Ewok Line.

22:01: Trump is calling the Clinton Foundation a "criminal enterprise." Half of all people being treated for HIV-AIDS in the world are getting it from the Foundation. Criminally, I suppose.

22:04: "There's no way to know if he's telling the truth" because he hasn't released his tax returns. "Undocumented immigrants in America are paying more in income tax than a billionaire."

22:06: "Will you absolutely accept the results of this election?" "I will look at it at the time."

22:16: "Google 'Donald Trump Iraq.'"

22:21: Trump keeps referring to "the Great Migration." Is he suggesting Clinton is responsible for African-Americans moving from the rural southern U.S. to northern cities?

22:25: Oh, FFS, Matthews. The national debt isn't in itself an issue. Why is this so hard for people? Read Krugman on IS = LM.

22:30: And the last question of this debate cycle is a right-wing hobby horse. Yes, there is bias in the media, and it's pro-Republican.

22:32: "Such a nasty woman." Projection much?

22:34: Final answer of the 2016 debates. Not a moment too soon.

22:37: That is the last time I will ever voluntarily listen to Donald Trump speak in my life. I know he'll be in the news for the next few weeks, but damn, I can't even.

Projection? No kidding

James Fallows says something that I've been thinking for a while:

To a first order of approximation, everything that Donald Trump has said about his opponents should be understood as projection, in the psychological sense of the term. That is, any defect Trump has complained about in his primary or general-election opponents, is more likely to seem an obvious flaw in himself.

Trump called Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted,” and Cruz has his moments. But no other politician of any party approaches Trump’s level of nonstop falsehood on matters large and small. Trump says that Hillary Clinton is secretive and scheming, and she too has her moments. But no other modern politician has matched Trump’s secrecy about his business operations or his taxes. He is hyper-attentive to other people’s weight gains, but is quite pudgy himself.

With that buildup, here is the latest what the hell? moment from the Trump campaign:  his suggestion today in New Hampshire that the candidates take a drug test before the third and final presidential debate.

I have no grounds for suggesting that Trump himself needs to be tested for drugs. But if anyone were to suggest that, wild claims like this would be part of the case.

Maybe all that sniffing at the first two debates had something to it...

Two tales of bad Republican policies hurting ordinary people

First, from Crain's, an exploration of the ghost town inside Naperville, Ill., where millions of dollars evaporated when the housing bubble burst in 2008:

At the height of the building boom, Novack estimates, there were 88 homebuilders working in Naperville. "Everyone was building homes then," he says. "It was the best business to be in." The bust took that figure down to "maybe a dozen," Novack says, though in recent years it's grown back to around 30. Homebuilding has been in a trough throughout the region, not only in Naperville. Builders sold 25,105 new homes in the Chicago area in 2006, according to Schaumburg-based industry tracker Tracy Cross & Associates, and in 2015 sold less than 15 percent of that.

If only Alan Greenspan had taken an economic view instead of an ideological one in the mid-2000s and put the brakes on runaway lending. Oh, and if we'd had financial oversight. But Republicans believe in everyone making it on their own: i.e., the richest making it on their own by not having to deal with the protections we put in place in the 1930s and 1940s, the last time this happened.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the incoming Christie administration moved money around the state budget to cut taxes, and he cancelled an enormous Hudson River tunnel project ostensibly to protect the state from cost overruns. The effects of his policies (which are consistent with Republican ideology) were calamitous for public transport. The New York Times explains in detail the effects on New Jersey Transit in particular:

Under the administration of Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, the state subsidy for the railroad has plunged by more than 90 percent. Gaping holes in the agency’s past two budgets were filled by fare increases and service reductions or other cuts. And plans for a new tunnel under the Hudson River — one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the country — were torpedoed by Mr. Christie, who pushed for some of the money to be diverted to road-building projects. 

The result can be felt by commuters daily. So far this year, the railroad has racked up at least 125 major train delays, about one every two days. Its record for punctuality is declining, and its trains are breaking down more often — evidence that maintenance is suffering.

Midway through Mr. Christie’s first year as governor, New Jersey Transit was spending about $1.35 billion on projects to maintain and improve service. By the middle of last year, that figure had fallen by more than half, to about $600 million.

Again, Republican low-tax, low-service policies benefit the rich (who don't care about public services but do care about taxes) at the expense of everyone else (who pay much less in taxes to begin with but do care about public services).

With 26 days until the election, maybe we should pay attention to down-ballot races and their consequences. You want to make America great again? Quit electing people who don't care about you.

Crazy likes crazy

Maine governor Paul LePage, who is certifiably insane, thinks we need authoritarian rule in the U.S. to "re-establish the rule of law," even though authoritarian rule is, by definition, its opposite.

Fortunately, we probably can breathe easier that Donald Trump's self-immolation continues apace, though Josh Marshall and Jeet Heer both raise alarms about what might happen November 9th, particularly given Trump's weeks-long ranting about how the election is rigged against him.

After 50 years of assaulting our institutions, the Republican Party have nominated someone who wants to overthrow those institutions altogether. He's not alone. I just hope the country doesn't come apart completely before I can get someplace safe from it.

Debate reactions

Some beauties, and some that I wasn't expecting, from:

And, not for nothing, the voters.

All in all, just about everyone who weighed in on it said it was a disaster for Trump, for the Republican Party, and for American Democracy. I concur.

Round Two

I was out of town all weekend without much Internet access. Lots of driving, some hiking, and a very fun wedding instead of blogging? Well, duh.

And here we are, a few minutes from the second presidential debate, watching "Frontline" on both of the candidates. It's not changing any opinions at Inner Drive Technology World Headquarters, nor, do I expect, will the debate itself. Buckle up.

21:02 EDT: "This could be one of the most repulsive debates in American history."—David Brooks. And here we go.

21:05: "I've heard from parents and teachers about their concerns about things being done in this campaign." Yep.

21:08: "I agree with everything she said." I hate to say it, but that's because she didn't say anything controversial. And then...inventing statistics about Obamacare, the Iran deal, etc.

21:10: "You bragged that you committed sexual assault." "No, it's just locker-room talk. ... We're going to defeat ISIS with locker-room talk." Donald Trump did not deny that he assaulted women. I'll have transcripts tomorrow.

21:14: "This is who Donald Trump is." Yes it is. Can't wait for the response...

21:15: Oh. Of course. He's simply not going to address what she just said at all.

21:20: "He never apologized." This is a good refrain, and it lets her get all his crap into the debate. And it gets right to his narcissism.

21:23: The Roman Republic fell, in part, because people kept getting sued and prosecuted the moment they left office—so they stopped leaving office. So basically, what we're seeing is the beginning of that here in the U.S. Trump very likely has committed crimes; he's saying he'll prosecute Clinton if he wins. Great.

21:29: "Oh, he can answer it first. Go ahead, Donald."

21:33: Watch out! The government is going to give you free health care if you vote for Hillary!

21:37: I don't have enough booze in my house to make this pain go away.

21:39: "Islamophobia is bad, and that is why my administration will make all of them wear yellow crescents on their clothes."

21:44: Hillary Clinton plays chess. She just moved her bishop to Russia-4. Watch for the knight...and watch Donald Trump try to jump the queen.

21:50: Clinton's linking of Putin to influencing the election might sound crazy to people. But it's true. Does anyone care?

21:51: "I think it would be great if we could get along with Russia, because maybe they could help us fight ISIS." Trump doesn't understand this, but the President might say exactly the same thing right now.

21:55: "He lives in an alternative reality. ... It's amusing hearing someone who hasn't paid taxes in 20 years tell us what he's going to do. ... Donald always takes care of Donald." And then she used math.

21:58: "Of course I do."—Trump answering the question about whether he used his $915m loss to avoid taxes. But it's OK, because everyone else does.

22:02: "Because you have to be able to get along with people to get things done in Washington." Zing.

22:06: "We're old and tired in terms of nuclear." Russia has about a third of the submarines and half the bombers we have. And we have an attack boat about a hundred meters behind every one of their submarines, and a satellite looking at every one of their bombers. But you see, in order to understand what that means, you'd have to know what the triad is.

22:08: "Mr. Trump, let me repeat the question."

22:09: "You disagree with your running mate." Not a question; just summarizing what he said.

22:09: Aleppo has already fallen. So fuck 'em.

22:11: Did Patton and MacArthur endorse Trump? Weren't both Patton and MacArthur fired for insubordination?

22:14: "Do you believe you can be president to everyone?" "Yes, I'll grab all their pussies."

22:17: Shorter Trump on inner cities:

22:21: Trump's answer about the 3am Tweet...I mean, I just...What? The? Fuck?

22:28: So, he's "invested" $100m of his own money in becoming president? "Invested?" What an interesting thing to say by a person who views the world transactionally. What will he consider a return on that investment?

22:31: "China is illegally dumping steel in the United States and Donald Trump is buying it." This hurts, if you care about policy. If not, eh?

22:34: "Would you say one thing that you respect about your opponent?" Hardest question of the evening. And I'm cringing in advance of his response...

22:39: What do I think about this debate? Splash of Vermouth, jigger of gin, 30 more days of this...

22:43: Mark Shields on PBS: "He doesn't have an embarrassment gene in his body. ... I was amazed he showed up tonight."

Heading into the weekend

Wow, my blogging velocity has been crap this month. And here I go, doing it crappier:

There will be more later, I'm sure.

A hint of things to come

The International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, N.C., has received threats of violence since denying Donald Trump's campaign access to the building for a photo-op:

“We made it known to Mr. Trump’s campaign that we were not going to grant a request of suspending our operations so he could somehow try to legitimize his ideological positions,” [Museum CEO John] Swaine told The News & Observer. “The landmark is very important – it’s not just a political backdrop.”

The museum is in the former F.W. Woolworth building, the site of the 1960 lunch counter sit-in protest against segregated eating establishments. The facility seeks to commemorate the historic sit-in and to promote equality today.

He said that since news of the museum’s decision broke last week, museum staff members have received threats via phone calls and social media.

“The callers were threatening to come over and burn down the building and to shoot up the building,” he said. “They’ve lessened in frequency this week, but they’re still coming in.”

I can't imagine why the museum denied the request. And then there's this observation from one of James Fallows' readers:

[A]fter the campaign is over and the election lost, Trump faces trouble unprecedented in American history. It’s conceivable that Trump could face civil or criminal prosecution on several fronts: federal income tax evasion, mail fraud connected with Trump University, fraud connected to his charitable foundation, espionage associated with Wikileaks, illegal lobbying associated with Russia.

We can easily imagine that some of these matters might arrive in federal or state court in the coming years. Whatever the outcome of those cases, Trump supporters will believe that the charges are Hillary Clinton’s personal retribution. And, next time the Democrats lose the White House, they will call for matching prosecutions of the losing candidate. “Lock Her Up” may have awful echoes.

As you know, this mirrors one of the defects that led to the collapse of the Roman Republic.

His entire comment is worth reading.

Interesting morning news

Just a couple of tasty items today:

  • One of my favorite BBQ places in Chicago, Smoke Daddy, will be opening at Hotel Zachary, which is currently under construction next to Wrigley Field. Next season's chow options will be that much better, not to mention excellent ribs a 20-minute walk from home.
  • Republican US Senator Mark Kirk sparred with his Democratic opponent, US Representative Tammy Duckworth, at the Chicago Tribune's editorial board endorsement session yesterday.

That's it for now. Back to optimizing software.