The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Wait, Monday is August?

Somehow we got to the end of July, though I could swear March happened 30 seconds ago. If only I were right, these things would be four months in my future:

I will now go out into this gorgeous weather and come back to my office...in August.

Tuesday morning...uh, afternoon reading

It's a lovely day in Chicago, which I'm not enjoying as much as I could because I'm (a) in my Loop office and (b) busy as hell. So I'll have to read these later:

Finally, Mick Jagger turns 79 today, which surprised me because I thought he was closer to 130.

Not 100% according to plan...

With an 8:30 international flight and great uncertainty in airport/airline operations these days, I thought it prudent to haul my ass out to a hotel by the airport last night.

Well, it worked, in that I got through O'Hare security less than an hour after waking up. I have plenty of time to sort through my email and load my Surface with some news.

On the other hand, I couldn't find a combination of pillows that I could tolerate, and only slept a bit more than 6 hours, so I can't call it a decisive win.

It looks like there are a lot of empty seats on the plane, so at least I didn't feel the need to check my bag. Depending on how I flex my strong dollars (£1 = $1.197 at this writing), I might have to check it on the way back, though.

Next report from my Ancestral Homeland in about 11 hours, if all goes well.

Stuff to read tomorrow morning

In just a few minutes I will take Cassie to boarding, then head up to Northwestern for a rehearsal (I'm in the chorus at Ravinia's upcoming performances of La Clemenza di Tito.) I'll then have to pack when I get home from rehearsal, then head to a hotel by O'Hare. Ah, how much fun is an 8:30 international flight!

As I'll have some time at the airport in the morning, and no time now, I want to queue these up for myself:

All right, I'm off. After I pack.

American League rules, apparently

I went to a Cubs game today for the first time since 6 June 2019, mainly because they have made a quest of finding imaginative ways to lose.

Today they lost because of a new rule imported from kickball, where they put a man on second base at the start of extra innings. They want the game to end sooner, you see, but with the wind blowing in like this:

Then you get a 1-1 ballgame going into the 11th. The next run will win the game, because hitting really sucks with a 20-knot wind coming from center field. And the next run—shown on the scoreboard above—did win the game. That, and some lousy Cubs hitting.

I still had fun, but I really would have preferred the Cubs win instead of the Mutts.

Back to the Dog Beach

Cassie got almost 2 hours of walkies before 9am with a return trip to the Montrose  Beach Dog Friendly Area:

She also got a bath, because even though Lake Michigan supplies millions of people with fresh water, we don't drink it right out of the lake for very good reasons.

Also, I did not take 540 photos like last time. Maybe tomorrow...?

And if you're listening to "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" on NPR this morning (and tomorrow morning in some markets), I was there Thursday night:

Northwest Ordinance, 235 years on

On this day in 1787, the Continental Congress passed the Northwest Ordinance, dividing up all the land west of Pennsylvania, north of the Ohio River, and east of the Mississippi River, into those little boxes you see when you fly over Illinois:

In 1781, Virginia began by ceding its extensive land claims to Congress, a move that made other states more comfortable in doing the same. In 1784, Thomas Jefferson first proposed a method of incorporating these western territories into the United States. His plan effectively turned the territories into colonies of the existing states. Ten new northwestern territories would select the constitution of an existing state and then wait until its population reached 20,000 to join the confederation as a full member. Congress, however, feared that the new states—10 in the Northwest as well as KentuckyTennessee and Vermont—would quickly gain enough power to outvote the old ones and never passed the measure.

Three years later, the Northwest Ordinance proposed that three to five new states be created from the Northwest Territory. Instead of adopting the legal constructs of an existing state, each territory would have an appointed governor and council. When the population reached 5,000, the residents could elect their own assembly, although the governor would retain absolute veto power.

The cadastral bits of the law explain why Chicago's streets form a grid and why Detroit has streets with evocative names like "13 Mile Road."

A suggestion to reduce gun violence that can pass the current Court

To absolutely no one's surprise, the little shit arrested for murdering six people in Highland Park, Ill., yesterday turned out to be a 22-year-old white kid with a violent social media history. And of course he bought the gun legally.

Every society has its psychopaths and angry young men. But most societies acknowledge this, and make it really hard for those assholes to buy guns. Here, we make it easier to buy a gun than to buy a car. That's just insane, but politically hard to change.

Right now, with the current right-wing Supreme Court and Senate, we can't pass meaningful gun safety laws. But I have an idea. Let's make it harder to get military-grade weapons through taxation.

What if Illinois added use taxes for ammunition and magazines? Any ammunition of magazines purchased in or brought into Illinois must have a tax stamp. Failure to show the proper stamp multiplies the tax by 10. Tax rifle ammunition at $1 per round, pistol ammunition at 25¢ per round, and shotgun ammunition at 10¢ per round, reflecting the social costs (externalities) of each. And tax magazines at $10 per round for the first 10 rounds and then $100 per round after.

So if you really want that Glock 9mm pistol with the 17-round magazine, filling it will cost you $800 in magazine tax and $4.25 in ammunition tax. But if you simply must have that AR-15 with its 20-round mag, then it's $1,100 for the magazine and $20 for the ammo.

This tax won't really bother legitimate hunters as hunting rifles tend to have 5-round magazines ($50 + $5), and a good hunter won't waste rounds on a deer. And, of course, there would be exemptions for law enforcement and Federal agencies. (Illinois has a huge Navy presence, for example, and the state can't tax them.)

Is this nibbling at the edges? Of course; obviously we need to ban these weapons entirely. But I think it would pass the current Court. And if it adds enough friction to purchasing military-style rifles to deter just one mass shooting a year, it will have saved lives.

Thoughts?