The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Longing for the halcyon days of James Watt

Trump has outdone himself with this doozy of a cabinet nomination:

Donald Trump intends to select Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, a senior transition official confirmed to NBC News Wednesday — the clearest sign yet the president-elect will pursue an agenda that could undo President Obama's climate change legacy.

An ally to the fossil fuel industry, Pruitt has aggressively fought against environmental regulations, becoming one of a number of attorneys general to craft a 28-state lawsuit against the Obama administration's rules to curb carbon emissions. The case is currently awaiting a decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which heard oral arguments in September.

Pruitt, who questions the impact of climate change, along with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, penned an op-ed in the Tulsa World earlier this year that called criticism they've received "un-American."

Meanwhile, Josh Marshall raises the alarm that having four (or five) recently-retired generals in top national security positions is not normal, for very good reasons. He concludes, "as a pattern, a government dominated by recently retired generals is a very negative development. Even if the nominees in question are not part of his thinking, there's little doubt that Trump's decision to nominate so many generals is rooted in a mix of his own lack of military service and his instinctive inability to think of relations between people or nations as anything but ones of domination."

It just keeps looking more and more like 1933.

> 2.5 million

That, as of today, is the number of votes that Clinton won more than Trump:

Hillary Clinton's popular vote lead has now reached 2.52 million votes. In percentage terms that's a 1.9 percentage point margin. It will rise at least a bit more. We can likely be confident that her final margin will be at least 2 percentage points. To compare, that's 5 times the margin of Al Gore's popular vote win in raw vote terms and 4 times his margin in percentage terms. At this point, not only did Clinton win the popular vote. It wasn't even all that close. When George W. Bush had another bite at the electoral apple in 2004 and finally did win the popular vote it was by 2.5 percentage points. Barack Obama's margin in 2012 was 3.9 percentage points.

Thank you, James Madison.

Time passes

Here's a fun comparison. This is the building adjacent to the north side of the northbound platform at the Northbrook Metra station. First, October 1985:

Here's the same wall almost exactly 31 years later:

The pharmacy long ago disappeared. The building now contains an Italian restaurant and a hair salon.

Google Earth Engine

Google now has a tool that will show you a time-lapse of any part of the world from 1984 to present:

In 2013, we released Google Earth Timelapse, our most comprehensive picture of the Earth's changing surface. This interactive experience enabled people to explore these changes like never before—to watch the sprouting of Dubai’s artificial Palm Islands, the retreat of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier, and the impressive urban expansion of Las Vegas, Nevada. Today, we're making our largest update to Timelapse yet, with four additional years of imagery, petabytes of new data, and a sharper view of the Earth from 1984 to 2016. We’ve even teamed up again with our friends at TIME to give you an updated take on compelling locations.

The examples on the demo page are striking. I would also suggest a few more to check out: Las Vegas (the city quadrupled in size in 22 years); North Suburban Illinois (watch the Glenview Naval Air Station disappear like a leaf in winter); Dubai; Mount St. Helens (watch the forest grow back and logging operations resume). Very cool stuff.

Zip-a-dee doo dah! Now it's off to the races

North Carolina's polls are about to close. So it's now time to open my live blog.

18:30 CST: As the first polls close, we've got Indiana and Kentucky for Trump, Vermont for Clinton. No surprises there. Other states "too close to call."

18:33: First (minor) disappointment: The Times calls Ohio Senate for Portman.

18:37: Interesting. The Times is calling West Virginia for Trump, as expected; but Talking Points Memo calls it for Clinton and Ohio for Strickland. Oh, my, tonight will be a l19ong won.

18:55: Times reporting Strickland has conceded in Ohio. So far, no change in the Senate.

19:04: Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Massachusetts to Clinton. Tiny states with lots of electoral votes. Times has the race now at 44 Clinton, 31 Trump. Illinois still not called, though our polls just closed.

19:15: Times calling Florida Senate for Rubio, but painting the state blue on the Presidential side. It's looking like there's a lot of vote-splitting today.

19:25: First Senate pick-up: Crain's and other outlets calling Illinois U.S. Senate for Duckworth.

19:44: Times is calling Indiana U.S. Senate for incumbent Republican Todd Young.

20:02: Everybody calls Illinois for Clinton, and the entire 96th meridian for Trump. Also New York and Rhode Island for Clinton. Times has us at 68-69 (because they haven't officially called some of them), MSNBC has us at 104-107.

20:12: Let's recall 2012:

Meanwhile, TPM reports "We don't know how this will play out. But the big story right now in Florida is that Trump is really outperforming Romney in the Republican counties." But remember, urban counties take a lot longer to report. Either way, it's going to be a long night.

20:17: Crain's reports that the (stupid, stupid, stupid) Safe Roads Amendment will probably pass in Illinois. It puts highway money in a lockbox instead of allowing the legislature to spend it on anything else. I don't think this is a good idea. We'll see.

20:25: Times editorial board member Brent Staples reports that 7 in 10 Trump voters long for the world portrayed in 1950s television shows. Unfortunately, this America never existed.

20:37: It may be too early to say this definitively, but I think Gary Johnson voters in swing states are probably closet Trump voters who want to have a bullshit excuse. Or they're crashingly stupid. But I expect, tomorrow morning, a lot of people will be saying, "Well don't blame me, I voted my conscience for Gary Johnson." Uh huh.

20:49: And now, market futures are in a tumble as Trump looks closer to winning.

20:56: TPM and the Times are both talking about polling failures. Bad failures. The Times now shows Trump with a 59% chance of winning. Maggie Halberman: "If Clinton wins, it will be an eked-out victory, meaning that Trump will remain on the scene for potentially a long time. ... But I think it’s going to be hard to grasp how fractured this country is going to be."

21:27: The Times is calling North Carolina U.S. Senate for incumbent Republican Richard Burr. So far we're 1 up. Great. This is scary.

21:56: The Times calls Ohio for Trump, a GOP pick-up. The Detroit Free Press calls Michigan for Clinton.

22:33: Florida to Trump, according to the Times. Gary Johnson got about twice the number of votes than the difference between Trump and Clinton. But my Johnson-supporting friends claim that they voted their consciences, that they opposed Trump, and that third parties are viable in the U.S. Yeah, good work guys. You're either lying, stupid, or delusional.

23:41: Yeah, I'm still up. And California and Massachusetts have just legalized pot. Which is great, but it's still against Federal law, and without an Obama or Clinton administration to stay enforcement of those laws, does it matter?

23:43: Ah, nostalgia. Remember 2012?

23:49: I just realized, it's coming up on 7am in most of Europe now. Bonjour, mes amis! Look who we're giving the nuclear codes to!

00:12: Paul Krugman: "It really does now look like President Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover? ... [A] first-pass answer is never."

00:36: Republican incumbent Pat Toomey re-elected in Pennsylvania. Missouri and Louisiana look grim. So it's looking a lot like we've lost the whole game. This is my country.

01:28: We've lost the Senate. We've failed to take the House. And though a lot of ballots remain to be counted, it looks like we've lost the executive as well. As I posted on Facebook a while ago, it looks like the Republican policies of cutting education funding for 50 years have paid dividends.

I find it no small irony that everyone I voted for this morning won, at all levels. (I include the Democratic electors who will vote for Hillary Clinton in mid-December.) And this is a very, very close election, decided by exactly the people who are already a minority in this country and who are fading away. Clearly they're not going without a fight, even if it destroys everything else around them.

We are Rome. Still the Republic, but Rome nonetheless. Millions of people who voted for Donald Trump tonight will expect their lives to improve, with America returning to the imagined past of "Leave It to Beaver." What happens when they're disappointed? Which Visigoths do they invite to sack Washington?

I'm going to sleep. When I wake up, I wonder if I'll still know my country.

 

Oh, that's where we left it

A diver off the coast of British Columbia appears to have found a 66-year-old atomic bomb casing:

The Canadian navy will be heading to the coast of British Columbia to investigate claims that a diver may have come across “the lost nuke” – a Mark IV bomb that went missing after an American B-36 bomber crashed in the region during the cold war.

Smyrichinsky started asking around, curious if anyone else had ever come across the mysterious object. “Nobody had ever seen it before or heard of it. Nobody ever dives there,” he told the Vancouver Sun. “Then some old-timer said: ‘Oh, you might have found that bomb.’”

It was a reference to the Mark IV, a 10-foot, blimp-shaped nuclear bomb weighing some five tonnes and which went missing over the Pacific during a US air force B-36 training flight on 13 February 1950.

Government records indicate that the lost bomb was a dummy and poses little risk of nuclear detonation, said a spokesperson.

Gosh, I hope so. Because let's not forget the missing fully-armed hydrogen bomb in North Carolina. I wonder what will happen when someone finds that.

Second of two posts: Sportsing!

You couldn't script the game better: tied at 6 going into the 9th, then the 10th, then a rain delay, then a 2-run homer top of 10 followed by a nail-biting run and out to end the game. The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. And Chicago went nuts.

There are, as you can imagine, a ton of stories about it. The best I thought came from the Guardian, but of course the Chicago Tribune, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the New York Times, the Atlantic, and Chicago Public Media all had things to say. And let's not forget the Onion.

The New York Times explained how the Cubs did it. Crain's Chicago Business said the curse is finally dead. And the Washington Post provided context around how the world has changed since 1908. 

AdWeek highlighted a Nike commercial that aired right after the final out. Crain's reported that the game had the highest ratings of any baseball game since 1991, and the highest-rated sporting event in Chicago history, with 40 million people watching.

DNAInfo chuckled that more people called in sick today than usual (myself included). We'll probably miss some more work tomorrow because of the parade, which starts at Wrigley Field and ends at Grand Park. Metra, our local heavy-rail system, is throwing every locomotive and rail car they have into the morning commute and tossing their schedules tomorrow, and asking people to work from home if they can.

It was an incredible night. I'm still amazed and agog. And hung over—but that's another story.

AC000000

I'm having trouble typing these words: The Cubs have won the World Series.

I'm sure I'll have more to say later.

But: the Cubs have won the World Series.

Where do you go from there? A woman president, maybe?

Holy fuck.

I hope against all the evidence I see that 2016 isn't the best year of my life. And I will sweat day and night to ensure this is merely the landing on the staircase.

Meanwhile, my neighborhood is all sirens and shouting, so...I'll leave the wordsmithing until later.

But the Cubs have won the World Series.

The Cubs.

Have won.

The World Series.

I don't even know what to do with that fact yet.

Some thoughts about tonight

The Cubs' World Series Game 7 tonight in Cleveland may be "the biggest game in Chicago sports history," according to Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. I agree.

But still, I'm trying to maintain perspective:

  • This is the only the second time in franchise history they've played in November. Last night was the first.
  • They won the National League pennant after a 71-year drought. That's not trivial.
  • If Cleveland wins, maybe they'll be so happy there it will tip Ohio into Hillary Clinton's column.
  • They have played some amazing baseball during this series, and during this season.
  • They'll be back next year.

So let's see what happens. And go, Cubs, go!