The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Bridge to nowhere

The CTA is replacing a 102-year-old viaduct in Evanston this weekend. I think the process is kind of cool. They started Friday evening and they'll finish Monday early in the morning, in time for the Purple Line to take people to work. I suppose it helps that they have an extra hour to work tonight.

This is the result of their first 15 hours or work:

And here's the "before" picture (from mid-August):

I always get a little nervous when the bridge is held up by chicken-wire.

St. Louis in the news

Congratulations to Anne's home-town team, the St. Louis Cardinals, winning the World Series against the team that the Cubs last played for the same title. As a Cubs fan, I had some difficulty rooting for the Cardinals (the teams' rivalry goes back to the beginnings of professional baseball in the 1880s), but since the Tigers are in the American League I managed to do so.

Also of note to St. Louisians, it was on this day in 1965 that engineers completed the Gateway Arch.

Cintas intimidates its own employees

Cintas, a uniform company (they make and launder uniforms for nurses, security guards, etc.), has decided to follow a DHS proposal—it doesn't have the force of law—that encourages employers to fire workers who have Social Security-number mismatches or in other ways fail to re-verify that they are authorized to work in the U.S. The effect of this action will be to intimidate immigrant workers, legal or not, and help them keep their payroll costs down.

The thing is, this is none of the company's business. The affected workers may have legal problems with the IRS or with ICE, but for all practical purposes this doesn't affect the company one way or the other. I don't think Cintas can make a straight-faced claim that the legal status of a minimum-wage seamstress or launderer threatens their business. On the other hand, if their workers worry that in addition to having an expensive and frightening experience with Immigration they also might lose their jobs, they'll be a lot less likely to agitate for a living wage or safe working conditions.

One of my long-standing clients, a labor-rights organization, has documented so many of Cintas' anti-worker policies (starting with poverty wages) that this is really only the latest, not the worst. So if you ever have to rent uniforms for your business, don't use Cintas.

Tribune endorses Bean

The Chicago Tribune has endorsed two suburban Democrats in one week. How unexpected. Imagine the Wall Street Journal endorsing Hillary Clinton or Maxine Waters, and you have some idea why I'm surprised. Today they've endorsed Melissa Bean:

Rep. Bean has recognized the need to listen very carefully to her constituents--she's a Democrat in a district that gave 56 percent of its vote to President Bush in 2004. She has charted a moderate, independent course and earned the support of Republicans and Democrats. She has been strong on national defense. She took a risk by voting for the Central America Free Trade Agreement. She knew that would anger some in organized labor—but that it would help businesses in her district expand and create jobs. She is an advocate for small business, gaining her the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She has the Tribune's endorsement for a second term in the 8th Congressional District

Of course, they managed to be flip and condescending in their endorsement, headlining it "Melissa Bean's Moxie," but still, it's a step. They go on to refuse, pointedly, to endorse my representative, Jan Schakowsky; but since no one knows who's running against her, and last time she won with 76% of the vote, I'm not too worried.

Go Tammy!

Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth (D, IL-06) is on WBEZ-Chicago's 848 right now, wiping the floor with her right-wing opponent, Peter Roskam. Tune in if you aren't already listening.

"Well, Peter, I've been to Iraq, where I had steak and lobster every night but I didn't have armor on the truck I drove that carried 5,000 gallons of aviation fuel."

Update: The show is available for download (.mp3, 26.2 MB).

Disclosure: I have contributed money to the Duckworth campaign.

Want a better Congress?

Here are three ways to help, right in TDP's back yard. You can contribute a few bucks to Melissa Bean, running for re-election to Congress from Illinois' 8th district, to Tammy Duckworth, running for Henry Hyde's seat in the Illinois 6th, or to Dan Seals in the Illinois 10th.

Duckworth is currently polling within the margin of error against her opponent, Peter Roskam, who continually sinks to new depths in his desperate campaign to keep the seat in Greedy Old Party hands. The GOP has just given almost half a million dollars to Roskam, all for negative ads attacking Duckworth. So her campaign might need a little more than the other two right now.

Update: Duckworth picked up the Chicago Tribune's endorsement today. The Tribune generally leans right of center, in much the same way that Ronald Reagan did; so their endorsement is notable.

Disclosure: I have contributed money to all three campaigns mentioned in this post, and I plan to volunteer for Duckworth on election day (19 days, 4 hours).