I would be remiss not to mention that today is the 50th anniversary of Tea for the Tillerman, Cat Stevens' best and most popular album. It's also one of my favorites.
Cover art by A&M Records (US), Fair use, Link
Every morning I get an email from The History Channel with "this day in history" bullet points. A couple stood out today:
And now, the sanity. Via author John Scalzi, (conservative) attorney T. Greg Doucette explains why the president will leave office on January 20th no matter what chicanery he tries to steal the election:
No, not a reference to a now-famous article of amendment to the US Constitution. One of my favorite movies, The American President, was released 25 years ago today.
I plan to watch it again tonight.
Two women have stealthily implemented the proposed name-change of Stephen Douglas Park to Fredrick Douglass Park:
This is the first time the vandals have spoken about their crime, which involved adding a very official-looking extra “S” to every park district sign in Douglas Park, a year and a half before Chicago’s Park District actually decided to change the name this September.
“It had started to bother me, and I would wonder, ‘Why is this park not named after Frederick Douglass instead of Stephen Douglas?’” said Vandal No. 2. “It just seemed wrong and obvious.”
Some incredibly persistent middle-school students from Village Leadership Academy were responsible for getting the vandals and many others to think about this.
It’s an insult for the park to be named after a slaveholder, they argued beginning in 2017, especially when it would be so easy to rename the park for an African American hero. They argued the park district could just add an “S” to the end of Douglas to change the park’s namesake from Stephen Douglas, the former Illinois senator who profited from slavery, to Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist.
The park district’s board of commissioners is slated to finalize the park’s name change this month, after Frederick Douglass and his wife Anna. Official signs are expected to go up after that.
Apparently Park District employees caught the women more than once, but, not having any instructions to fix the signs, did nothing. Welcome to Chicago.
On this day 4 years ago, the Cubs won the World Series. Just six days later, we experienced one of the worst things ever to happen in US presidential politics.
It turns out, today is the anniversary of other horrible things that happened to the Presidency:
- In 1795, James K Polk was born.
- In 1865, Warren G Harding was born.
- In 1948, Dewey defeated Truman defeated Dewey. (At least this one turned out OK.)
I'm going into tomorrow a great deal more optimistic than I've felt in years. Tonight I'll have a run-down of the races I plan to watch tomorrow, though we may not know for days what the final results will be. For example, because we need to know the total number of votes cast to determine whether Illinois' Fair Tax Amendment passes, we can't know the final outcome until the 17th.
As of this morning, The Economist has lowered Biden's chances of winning from 96% to 95%, and 538 has Biden at 90%. The president can still win. I just don't think he will.
By the way, I was not wrong about the outcome of the last election.
Fifty years ago today, the Grateful Dead released American Beauty:
There are countless versions of the Grateful Dead to tap into, hundreds of bootlegs and remastered live recordings to queue up. Many bona fide Deadheads would say it's not even worth bothering with the studio recordings. But American Beauty, released Nov. 1, 1970, and lined with back-to-back classics that earned them the title of the great American jam band, stands out from all the rest.
Meanwhile, yesterday set a couple more milestones that historians will talk about 50 years from now:
- Tropical Storm Eta became the 28th named storm of the North Atlantic hurricane season, setting a new record. Hurricane season officially ends a month from today.
- More than 91 million people have already voted in this election, about 2/3 of the total ballots cast (136.5 m) in 2016.
- The monthly average water level in the Lake Michigan-Huron system finally dipped below last year's levels, following 9 straight months of record or near-record levels.
Only 60 shopping days left until we finally exit this bizarre and horrible year.
My ex and I got Parker in part because every morning we could see a doggy play group right outside our bedroom window. Here's Parker, 14 years ago today, having a great time there:
Today we went back to the same park. Parker initially wanted to go into the building where we lived back then, so I had to explain that someone else lives there now. Once in the park, though, he forgot all that and just strolled around with a happy look on his face:
Today was a good day for him, except for the parts where he pooped in his bed around 2am and in the bathroom around 9am. He seemed to have a great time sniffing all the old places he used to play. I suspect that he remembered the terroir of the park, but he might have remembered its appearance as well. And as I said, he definitely remembered the building. (Here's another post about the dog park, when Parker met the sweet Rottweiller who wanted to play a bit rougher than my puppy did.)
He's sound asleep now, despite the Roomba whirring around the place, and he's likely to stay that way for the rest of the afternoon unless the Roomba bumps into him. As good as today was, it's likely tomorrow won't be, as he really exhausted himself this afternoon. But we'll see. He's happy, which is all that matters at this point.
Also, this is the 600th post on the Daily Parker since last November 1st, and the 7,600th since May 1998. In each of the last 6 months, the 12-month running total has hit a new record, mainly because if I post once more today, this will be the 8th month in a row of 50+ posts. In the 22-year history of this blog, I've only posted 50+ posts 13 times, including those 8. So in future, when I look back on 2020, I'll have at least one good thing to talk about.
The first polls close in the US next Tuesday in Indiana at 6 pm EST (5 pm Chicago time, 22:00 UTC) and the last ones in Hawaii and Alaska at 7pm HST and 8pm AKST respectively (11 pm in Chicago, 05:00 UTC). You can count on all your pocket change that I'll be live-blogging for most of that time. I do plan actually to sleep next Tuesday, so I can't guarantee we'll know anything for certain before I pass out, but I'll give it the college try.
- The US Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court last night by a vote of 52-48, with only Susan Collins (R-ME) joining the Democrats. It's the first time since Reconstruction that the Senate confirmed an Associate Justice with no votes from the opposition party. And in the history of our country, only two people have been confirmed by a smaller margin: Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas. I'm sure the three of them will continue to fight for bipartisanship and good jurisprudence as strongly as they ever have.
- Emma Green points out "the inevitability of Amy Coney Barrett," because the Republicans don't care. And Olivia Nuzzi brings us the story of "the tortured self-justification of one very powerful Trump-loathing anonymous Republican."
- Bill McKibben reminds us "there's nothing sacred about nine justices; a livable planet, on the other hand..."
- Speaking of the planet, Tropical Storm Zeta became Hurricane Zeta last night. The 2020 season has now tied the all-time record for the number of named Atlantic storms set in January 2006, and it's only October.
- Bars and restaurants in suburban Cook County have to close again tomorrow as statewide Covid-19 cases exceed 4,500 on a rolling 14-day average. Some parts of the state have seen positivity rates over 7.5% in the last couple of weeks. My favorite take-out Chinese place down by my office is also closing for the winter, which I understand but which still saddens me.
- The Washington Post asked TV screenwriters how 2020 should end.
- In one small bit of good news, the Food and Drug Administration has finally agreed that whisky is gluten-free, as gluten does not evaporate in the distilling process and so stays in the mash.
Finally, from a reader in Quebec comes a tip about violent clashes between a Canadian First Nation, the Mi'kmaw tribe of Nova Scotia, and local commercial fishermen over First Nations lobster rights. If you think Canada is a land without racism, well...they're just more polite about it.
I did not expect that. It all melted as soon as it hit the ground, at least.
In other news, today is Doonesbury's 50th birthday.