Talk-show host Stephen Colbert has set up a website called Better Know a Ballot where you can check on the voting requirements for your state. He's producing videos for each state (starting with North Carolina) to explain the rules.
That's the bright spot of joy for you today. Here are other...spots...of something:
OK, one more bit of good news: The Economist reported this week that the southern hemisphere had almost no flu cases this winter, because pandemic response measures work on influenza just as they work on Covid-19.
Today is the last day of meteorological summer, and by my math we really have had the warmest summer ever in Chicago. (More on that tomorrow, when it's official.) So I, for one, am happy to see it go.
And yet, so many things of note happened just in the last 24 hours:
Finally, Josh Marshall reminds everyone that Democrats are nervous about the upcoming election because we're Democrats. It's kind of in our blood.
The US Constitution has guaranteed the right of women to vote since 18 August 1920:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Or, if you'd prefer:
Yesterday, a scheduled "Boat Parade" on Portland, Oregon's Willamette River supporting the president's re-election campaign caused a bystander's boat to sink:
Video posted to Twitter showed the boat taking on water as its occupants called for help while more than 20 boats and personal watercraft flying President Donald Trump flags headed south on the Willamette River near downtown Portland.
Sgt. Bryan White, a spokesman for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, said river patrol deputies responded to the incident but that the people on the boat had already been picked up by other boaters in the area by the time the deputies arrived. Video appeared to show at least one of the boats that stopped to help was a parade participant.
Here's the video:
I expect none of the Trumpers were wearing masks, either.
As for liability, people I spoke with who have knowledge of maritime law said this would most likely lead to a tort case in an Oregon state court.
I'm taking a day off, so I'm choosing not to read all the articles that have piled up on my desktop:
- Tropical Storm Josephine has formed east of the windward islands, becoming the earliest 10th named storm on record. The National Hurricane Center promises an "extremely active" season.
- By tracking excess deaths in addition to reported Covid-19 deaths, the New York Times has concluded we've already surpassed 200,000 and could hit half a million by the end of the year.
- The General Accounting Office, a non-partisan Congressional watchdog, says Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli are not legally qualified for their current positions, throwing into doubt all DHS actions under their leadership.
- CityLab sees parallels between Chicago's response to looting in the past few months and its response to the Lager Beer Riot of 1855.
- Has the European Central Bank "found a way around the lower bound on interest rates?"
- John Scalzi declaims, "Fuck you, I'm voting." ("You," in this case, means the Trump Administration, in case there was any doubt.)
- A former Google security engineer earned $50,000 for helping "a guy" get $300,000 in Bitcoin out of an old Zip file, thanks to advances in computing power and a flaw in the Zip implementation.
Finally, a "mania" set Stravinsky's Rite of Spring to Teletubbies footage, and it's horrifying.
First, this chart:
And yet, there are so many other things going on today:
- NPR has the clearest take-down on the president's election-postponement trolling I've seen today, noting in particular that "Trump's tweet came about 15 minutes after news of the worst-ever-recorded quarterly performance of the American economy." Josh Marshall just says "don't cower."
- Republican political consultant Stuart Stevens believes people like him "lost the battle for the Republican Party's soul long ago:" "I feel like the guy working for Bernie Madoff who thought they were actually beating the market."
- Politico's Shia Kapos and Tina Nguyen explain why allies of the president want to inflict Federal troops on Chicago.
- TNR's JC Pan outlines how increasing inequality, particularly between the top-20% and everyone else, continues to shape our pandemic response.
- The Atlantic's Derek Thompson says "hygiene theater is a huge wast of time."
- The City of Chicago will start fining people up to $500 per day for failing to self-quarantine after entering the city from any of the 22 states now on the list of places where disease incidence has exceeded 15 per 100,000. And with Illinois heading into that zone, our governor has cancelled most school sports for the fall.
- Mercy Hospital, one of the oldest and most-needed medical facilities on the South Side, will close by May 31st.
- The US Trade Representative, for no reason I can see, wants to increase tariffs on European whiskies, wines, and other spirits, in some cases to 100%.
The one bit of good news? Evanston-based Sketchbook Brewing, who make delicious beers and whose taproom inspired the Brews and Choos project, will open a huge new taproom in Skokie tomorrow evening. And guess what? It's only 4 blocks from an El stop.
Just a few things have cropped up in the news since yesterday:
- President Trump has threatened to send federal agents to "assist" with Chicago's efforts to curb gun violence, which no one except the Trump-supporting head of our police union wants. Michelle Goldberg calls the presence of federal agents in Portland a harbinger of fascism, while the ACLU calls it "a constitutional crisis" and has filed suit to reverse the policy.
- Also in Portland, an unidentified woman wearing only a hat and face mask nonchalantly walked in front of a row of federal police and danced for them. Said the LA Times, "She stood calmly, a surreal image of human vulnerability in the face of an overpowering force that has been criticized nationally by civil rights advocates." (Nudity is constitutionally-protected speech in Oregon.)
- The BBC also digs in and reports that the 1807 Insurrection Act prohibits this kind of federal intervention. Notably, the last time a president invoked the law against the express wishes of the state was in 1957, when Eisenhower sent troops to Arkansas to protect black children from white mobs.
- St Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner's office filed felony charges against Mark and Patricia McCloskey for unlawful use of a weapon, but the Republican governor of Missouri has already promised to pardon the couple.
- The FBI arrested Republican Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and three others in connection with a $60 m bribery case.
- The Boeing 747 has become the latest casualty of Covid-19, with only one airline continuing to fly the jet in passenger service.
- The Chicago Transit Authority has started round-the-clock construction on the $2.1 bn Red-Purple Modernization Project, which my alderman acknowledged would cause "massive disruption."
Finally, the Covid-19 mitigation rollback announced yesterday has led to Guthrie's Tavern closing permanently. Guthrie's, which opened in 1986 and featured board games and good beer, will pour its last pint on Thursday.
I'll get to the final head-to-head comparison between my Garmin Venu and Fitbit Ionic later today. Meanwhile:
And finally, because our Covid-19 numbers have started creeping up, indoor bar service will halt on Friday.
Tom Friedman gives Joe Biden some good advice:
First, Biden should declare that he will take part in a debate only if Trump releases his tax returns for 2016 through 2018. Biden has already done so, and they are on his website. Trump must, too. No more gifting Trump something he can attack while hiding his own questionable finances.
And second, Biden should insist that a real-time fact-checking team approved by both candidates be hired by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates — and that 10 minutes before the scheduled conclusion of the debate this team report on any misleading statements, phony numbers or outright lies either candidate had uttered. That way no one in that massive television audience can go away easily misled.
Of course, Trump will stomp and protest and say, “No way.” Fine. Let Trump cancel. Let Trump look American voters in the eye and say: “There will be no debate, because I should be able to continue hiding my tax returns from you all, even though I promised that I wouldn’t and even though Biden has shown you his. And there will be no debate, because I should be able to make any statement I want without any independent fact-checking.”
We'll see. But really, Biden has no reason to debate Trump otherwise. (Note: I am a financial contributor to Joe Biden's campaign.)
In other news:
Back to coding.
I was in meetings almost without break from 10am until just a few minutes ago, so a few things have piled up in my inbox:
And no matter where you are in the world, you can attend Apollo After Hours next Friday at 19:00 CDT / midnight UTC. It's going to be a ton of fun.