The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Reading while the CI build churns

I'm chasing down a bug that caused what we in the biz call "unexpected results" and the end-users call "wrong." I've fixed it in both our API and our UI, but in order to test it, I need the API built in our dev/test environment. That takes about 18 minutes. Plenty of time to read all of this:

Finally, the Times explains how last year's 257 traffic fatalities in New York City undermine the claims that "Vision Zero" is working. But Strong Towns already told you that.

OK, build succeeded, fix is now in Dev/Test...on with the show!

Stuff I may come back to later

First, because it's April 20th, we have a a couple of stories about marijuana:

(The Daily Parker owns shares in Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries.)

Second, because it's the 21st Century, we have a collection of articles about the end of democracy:

And in me. I've got software to write.

Toujours, quelque damn chose

But for me, it was Tuesday:

  • The Democratic National Committee has selected Chicago to host its convention next August, when (I assume) our party will nominate President Biden for a second term. We last hosted the DNC in 1996, when the party nominated President Clinton for his second term.
  • Just a few minutes ago, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg filed suit in the Southern District of New York to enjoin US Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) from interfering in the prosecution of the XPOTUS.
  • Speaking of the House Moron Caucus, Jonah Goldberg worries that the kids following people like Jordan and the XPOTUS have never learned how to behave in public, with predictable and dire consequences for public discourse in the future.
  • And speaking of, uh, discourse, New York Magazine features Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) on its cover this week, in which the actor describes her meeting in 2006 with a "pop-culture curiosity" years before destroying American democracy even entered into his dementia-addled brain. It...isn't pretty.
  • Jennifer Rubin thinks the Religious Right's "victory" in politicizing the Federal judiciary will cripple the Republican Party. (I believe she's right.)
  • Today I learned that Guthrie's Tavern did not die during the pandemic, and in fact will offer free hot dogs during Cubs home games to all paying customers (while supplies last).
  • Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal, the CEO and president of Chicago tech company Outcome Health, were convicted on 32 counts of fraud and other crimes for their roles in stealing investors' money.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope has detected a runaway black hole moving close to 1,000 km/s with a 200,000-light-year tail of baby stars following it. (Those baby stars happened because at that speed, it wasn't able to pull out in time...)
  • MAD Magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee, inventor of the Fold-In, died Monday at 102.

Finally, Tupperware has warned its creditors and shareholders that it may go out of business in what I have to call...an uncontained failure of the company.

Asyncing feeling

I spent all day updating my real job's software to .NET 7, and to predominantly asynchronous operation throughout. Now I have four stubbornly failing unit tests that lead me to suspect I got something wrong in the async timing somewhere. It's four out of 507, so most of today's work went fine.

Meanwhile, the following stories have backed up:

Finally, a very rich person is very annoyed after his or her private jet got stuck in the mud at Aspen's airport. It seems the guy sent to pull it out of the mud maybe needed another lesson on how planes work, because he managed to snap the nose gear right off the $3.5 million airplane. Oopsi. (There's video!)

XPOTUS, criminal defendant

The New York County District Attorney charged the XPOTUS with 34 felony counts stemming from his payment of hush money to Stephanie Clifford, aka adult film actor Stormy Daniels:

The indictment against the former president, People of the State of New York against Donald J. Trump, Indictment No. 71543-23, has been unsealed.

The former president was charged with 34 felonies and pleaded not guilty before State Supreme Court Justice Juan M. Merchan.

The charges include filing false business records in the first degree, a low level felony that carries a maximum of four years in prison for each count, though if he is convicted a judge could sentence him to probation.

Trump has walked out of the courtroom and back into the district attorney’s office. He did not stop to talk to the press.

Unfortunately, the District Attorney declined to get a mug shot of the XPOTUS, probably because half the country would immediately change their social media profile photos to mock it. More seriously, the DA has discretion of mug shots, and understandably declined to take one for the same reason they didn't ask for bond. I mean, the XPOTUS has Federal law enforcement agents around him every minute of the day, and it's not like he can outrun them.

I still think Finland joining NATO is a more important story. So does the White House.

And if you're curious, the Post has the indictment and statement of facts for the case.

History, courtesy of authoritarian incompetence

No, not that incompetent authoritarian; that bit of history hasn't happened yet. I mean the one whose adventure in Ukraine has succeeded in adding 1,300 km to his border with NATO:

Finland has become the 31st member of the Nato security alliance, and its flag will soon be raised at the alliance's headquarters.

The Finnish foreign minister handed the accession document to the US secretary of state who declared Finland a member.

Finland's accession is a setback for Russia's Vladimir Putin, who repeatedly complained of Nato's expansion before his full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The length of Russia's border with NATO member states has now doubled.

Putin remains master strategist!

Honestly, Finland joining NATO matters in the long term a lot more than the nonsense in New York. I'll address that mishigos when the New York County DA unseals the indictment.

In other news

Stuff read while waiting for code to compile:

Finally, Chicago Tribune food critic Louisa Chu says I should take a 45-minute drive down to Bridgeview to try some Halal fried chicken—just, maybe, after Ramadan ends.

XPOTUS indicted

The Manhattan District Attorney's office reported last night that a New York grand jury has returned an indictment of former president Trump, the first time this has happened in the 234-year history of the office. Reports this morning say the grand jury charged him with over 30 counts of business crimes, but at the moment, no one outside the jury room and a handful of lawyers knows what the indictment contains. The XPOTUS will travel to New York for his formal arrest, booking, and arraignment on Tuesday, at which point the DA's office will unseal the indictment.

Naturally, the Republican Party has started the outrage machine, glossing over the crimes the grand jury agreed the XPOTUS needs to face trial for, calling it "political." But as author John Scalzi points out, it's only political because the Republican Party has abrogated its responsibilities to the nation:

[It's political] in the sense that one political party is willing to hold Trump accountable for his actions, and one political party absolutely is not. In the perfect world that yet still managed to have Trump, as he is, elected to the office of president, people of good will and a strong sense of justice in both parties would be pursuing criminal indictments of the man, as there are manifestly so many things he could be indicted for. I understand the modern GOP is long past that moment of clarity, however, and continues to purge from its ranks anyone who might suggest such things are possible. So, again, here we are. This is political because the Republican party wants you to think this is political. They have worked long and hard to make it so, and will continue to do so.

For a bit more perspective, the Times' Marc Fisher reminds us that the XPOTUS has evaded criminal liability for half a century already:

Already, Trump’s statements about the Daniels case have followed a pattern he set as far back as 1973, when federal prosecutors accused Trump and his father, Fred, a prominent New York City apartment developer, of turning away Black people who wanted to rent from them. In that case, Trump first denied the allegation, then said he didn’t know his actions were illegal, and then, through his lawyer, accused the government of conducting a bogus “Gestapo-like investigation.”

Trump’s attitude toward law, lawyers and the notion of legal jeopardy closely tracks his approach to business, politics and personal relationships: He has said that he believes in instinct and gut over expertise and rules, that any publicity is good publicity, and that most Americans admire successful people even when — or especially when — they skirt the rules.

The Atlantic's Quinta Jurecic calls the indictment "astonishing and frightening:"

The hush-money case isn’t entirely separate from those ugly aspects of Trump’s presence on the political stage: It did, after all, involve an effort to meddle in the process of an election, in this instance by denying the public the full scope of available information about the man it would soon elect to high office. But even so, the interference itself does seem a little less urgent—and less weighty—than his involvement in fomenting an insurrection.

There’s something very, well, Trumpy about this: He has a way of making everything sordid. Instead of a dramatic discussion about the meaning of accountability for a president who sought to overthrow the will of the voters to stay in power, we’re arguing about the dirty mechanics of hush-money payments to an adult-film star.

The situation might be merely crass if not for the shadow of violence hanging over it. After announcing that he expected to be indicted on March 21, Trump promised “death and destruction” in a post on his bespoke social-media site, Truth Social. Now he’s busy raging about the indictment as “AN ATTACK ON OUR COUNTRY THE LIKES OF WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE” and “weaponizing our justice system to punish a political opponent.” The ongoing investigations into Trump’s potential responsibility for the insurrection are a reminder of just how serious this rhetoric can get.

It seems clear that about 30% of the country will back this guy no matter what they learn about him. But I think the other 70% want to see accountability. As the XPOTUS goes through the criminal-justice system for the first of what may be several times in his remaining years on the planet, I hope he gets some.

Just got a minor office upgrade

At my day job, I go into our downtown office at least once a week, which turns out to be about once a week longer than almost everyone else. I like the change of scene, and Cassie gets to spend those days at day camp, so it's a win for everyone.

The 90%-or-so remote work that people have elected also means we have tons of empty offices while our multi-year leases run their courses. So, after waiting almost a year for the furniture upgrade that never came, the office manager today said "just go take the office next door to yours." Cool. Better furniture, a (very slightly) different view, and...that's about it.

While I move my stuff 4 meters to the west, you can read these:

Finally, in keeping with me schlepping my books and laptop next door, Salesforce and Meta have put 22,000 m² of downtown Chicago office space on the secondary market, terrifying commercial real estate owners everywhere.

XPOTUS indictment due Tuesday

Media reports, including the XPOTUS's own social-media posts, suggest the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York will issue an historic indictment on Tuesday:

The Manhattan district attorney's office is expected to issue criminal charges against Trump in a case centering on a payment that Michael Cohen, Trump's attorney and fixer at the time, made to the adult film star Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential election.

Cohen told CNN Thursday that he believed an indictment of Trump was "imminent."

Trump has maintained his innocence in the case and claims he did not have an affair with Daniels. His attorneys have also argued the investigation is politically motivated. Trump attacked Daniels Wednesday on his social media platform Truth Social.

To secure a conviction, prosecutors would have to prove Trump knowingly broke state law by reimbursing Cohen for his payment to Daniels and then falsifying his business records to cover it up.

There is also no guarantee the case will go to trial.

Of course this won't go to trial. The XPOTUS may have massive lacunae in his higher functions, but I'm sure he's canny enough to realize that he can't afford politically to have Stormy Daniels take the stand.

If you think the Democratic Party wouldn't be as hard on one of our own as we think the Justice Department should be about the XPOTUS, here's just one of the things I wrote about Democratic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich—who I fucking voted for—when it turned out he was unfit for office. Heck, read all of the things I wrote.

See, it's not about partisan politics; it's about not wanting our politicians to do crimes. And it's about wanting something approaching ethics based on a simple fear of consequences to guide these narcissists, as actual moral philosophy is simply beyond them.

Also, this is likely only the first indictment coming for the XPOTUS. There are at least two other grand jury investigations in other jurisdictions, operating on their own timetables. The next election will not be fun.