Cassie has bugged me for the last hour, even though we went out two hours ago. I assume she wants dinner. I will take care of that presently.
While I wait for a continuous-integration pipeline to finish (with success, I hasten to add), working a bit later into the evening than usual, I have these articles to read later:
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Lib-Papineau) called a snap election to boost his party, but pissed off enough people that almost nothing at all changed.
- Margaret Talbot calls out the State of Mississippi on the "errors of fact and judgment" in its brief to the Supreme Court about its draconian abortion law.
- Julia Ioffe expresses no surprise that the press and the progressives have come to grief with each other over President Biden.
- Josh Marshal examines the "crumbling firmament" signified by France's indignation at our deal to supply nuclear submarines to the Australian Navy.
- New regulations allowing hunters to kill wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain states may have the unintended result of putting the animals back on the endangered-species list.
And I am sad to report, Cassie will not get to the dog beach tomorrow, what with the 4-meter waves and all.
Yes, that Guinness. They've found a derelict railway building in the Fulton Market area and plan to open a new stop on the Brews & Choos Project:
Stories from the usual suspects:
- Sweden's Prime Minister abruptly resigned Sunday, saying it's for the benefit of his center-left party.
- Following Andrew Cuomo's resignation, Kathy Hochul became the first female governor of New York State this morning just after midnight.
- The Capitol Police have cleared the unnamed officer who shot domestic terrorist Ashli Babbit as she tried to force her way into the Speaker's Lobby on January 6th, adding that the shooting likely saved many other lives.
- Economist Paul Krugman credits the pandemic for showing low-wage workers, particularly in the leisure and hospitality industry, they're worth more than they were paid in the past. (In other words, we should call the "labor shortage" by the more correct term "market forces" instead.)
- Josh Marshall once again points out that the evacuation from Kabul, while appearing chaotic, has actually been very successful.
- Jordan Michael Smith asks, "Twenty years after 9/11, are we any smarter?"
- Sarah Zhang frets about the new school year and hopes it won't go as badly as last year.
Finally, Whisky Advocate calls out a few lesser-known distilleries in Scotland worth visiting—or at least sampling.
Hundreds of people are missing and dozens confirmed dead in some of the worst flooding in European history:
Following a day of frantic rescue efforts and orders to evacuate towns rapidly filling with water unloosed by violent storms, the German authorities said late Thursday that after confirming scores of deaths, they were unable to account for at least 1,300 people.
That staggering figure was announced after swift-moving water from swollen rivers surged through cities and villages in two western German states, where the death toll passed 90 on Friday in the hardest-hit regions and other fatalities were expected.
The devastation caused by the severe weather came just days after the European Union announced an ambitious blueprint to pivot away from fossil fuels over the next nine years, as part of plans to make the 27-country bloc carbon-neutral by 2050. Environmental activists and politicians were quick to draw parallels between the flooding and the effects of climate change.
“The water is still flowing knee-high through the streets, parked cars are thrown sideways, and trash and debris are piling up on the sides,” Alexander Bange, the district spokesman in the Märkische region of North Rhine-Westphalia, told the German news agency D.P.A.
I hope the rains abate long enough, and the rivers empty quickly enough, to limit the damage and deaths that continue today.
French start-up Midnight Trains plans a set of overnight train routes of 800-1,500 km in length, from Paris to Edinburgh, Madrid, Copenhagen, and Rome:
The founders say the aim is not to match the famous – and expensive – luxury of the Orient Express but offer an alternative to the basic, state-run SNCF sleepers and short-haul flights.
Key to the service will be “hotel-style” rooms offering privacy and security, and an onboard restaurant and bar.
Midnight Trains is the latest arrival in what is becoming a crowded market. Across Europe, state-run railways are facing new competition from private operators looking to introduce night trains. Fans of rail travel have waited some time for new night train routes to come along … only to find, a bit like buses, several turning up at the same time.
Since 2016, Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) has introduced six new overnight routes under the Nightjet brand that was already operating nine night routes. Private operators in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Belgium have announced new overnight services.
In December last year, ÖBB, the German rail company Deutsche Bahn, SNCF and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) announced the signing of an agreement to launch new night train services in Europe. This is the first step in developing the Trans-Europe Express (TEE) 2.0 network, proposed by the German presidency of the Council of the European Union. This partnership plans to launch four new services to 13 of Europe’s largest cities in the coming years.
Sign me up!
With France and the UK sending naval vessels to the Isle of Jersey last week, it's only fitting that Belgium got into the historical reenactment game:
Apparently frustrated by a 200-year-old stone border marker, a Belgian farmer dug it out and moved it about seven feet into French territory, local officials told French news media, thus slightly enlarging his own land as well as the entire country of Belgium.
The stone markers, each believed to weigh between 300 and 600 pounds, were laid when the 390-mile border between France and what is now Belgium was established under the 1820 Treaty of Kortrijk.
It is unclear whether the farmer knew the significance of the stone, which has 1819 carved into its face.
The farmer could face criminal charges if he does not return the Franco-Belgian border to the correct location.
I also found it fascinating that France has clubs who walk the Belgian border looking for exactly these kinds of things. I wonder how many other borders in the world have changed slightly due to adverse possession by people who don't know they're invading the other country?
Today is not only the 35th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, it's also the 84th anniversary of the Nazi bombing of Guernica. Happy days, happy days.
In today's news, however:
I will now get lunch. And since it's 17°C right now (as opposed to yesterday's 5°C), I may eat it outside.
Just a couple passing stories this afternoon:
Finally, Merck and Johnson & Johnson announced a plan to combine production of Covid-19 vaccines, an "unprecedented" collaboration between competitors.
I read the news today, oh boy. And one of the stories reminded me of this movie:
See if you can guess which one.
- The FBI charged Richard Michetti, of Ridley Park, Pa., with several crimes related to the January 6 insurrection after his ex-girlfriend turned over photos, videos, and texts of Michetti storming the Capitol. She did so shortly after he called her a "moron" in one of the texts.
- The North Atlantic Overturning Circulation has declined to its lowest point in over a millennium, threatening to make Northern Europe's weather more like Canada's and to raise sea levels along the US Atlantic coast. Note that global warming slowing the ocean's thermohaline circulation was predicted back in the 1980s.
- Following Monday's unsigned order from the United States Supreme Court, Mazars USA, the XPOTUS's accounting firm, has turned over 8 years of Trump Organization tax records to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.
- Dominion Voting Systems' legal filings against Rudy Giuliani and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell spared no one's feelings.
- The New Yorker's Eric Lach puzzles over "the sound and fury of Andrew Cuomo."
- If you're a mom at wit's end trying to manage children during the pandemic, Jennifer Senior wants you to know you're not alone.
Finally, Chicago managed 58 hours of above-freezing temperatures (from 1pm Monday until 11pm yesterday) leaving us with only 15 cm of snow on the ground and a chance it'll all be gone by this time tomorrow. The forecast calls for daytime highs above freezing every day through next week, possibly hitting 10°C over the weekend. Spring!