The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Extremism looks like this

A man attacked and seriously injured author Salman Rushdie at a lecture in upstate New York this morning:

The author Salman Rushdie, who spent years in hiding and under police protection after Iranian officials called for his execution, was attacked and stabbed in the neck on Friday while onstage in Chautauqua, near Lake Erie in western New York, the state police said.

The attack, which shook the literary world, happened at about 11 a.m., shortly after Mr. Rushdie, 75, took the stage for a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution, a community that offers arts and literary programming during the summer.

Mr. Rushdie was taken by helicopter to a local hospital, the state police said in a statement. His condition is not yet known. His agent, Andrew Wylie, said in an email Friday afternoon that Mr. Rushdie was undergoing surgery.

It was not clear what motivated the attacker.

[Rushdie] was there for a discussion about the United States as a safe haven for exiled writers and other artists who are under the threat of persecution.

While it's technically true that we don't know "what motivated the attacker," we can make a guess. If this wasn't religious extremism I'll post a public apology to religious extremists everywhere. And not for nothing, when our own home-grown Christianists get into the book-banning habit, they don't have far to go before this sort of thing happens. Fundamentalists of all kinds need to be removed from politics.

Meanwhile, as the Department of Justice reveals more details about just what TS-SCI documents related to our nuclear arsenal the XPOTUS stole from the White House, Republicans have used the warranted search as a fundraising talking point. Because they are the party of law and order. As Josh Marshall said today, "It is probably best to say that we are back in one of those fugue windows Trump Republicans have, much like January 7th-9th 2021, in which there’s a period of relative silence while a story is devised to explain why something inexplicable and indefensible is in fact awesome and totally fine."

Mar-a-Lago searched

How many sign-offs do you need to execute a no-knock raid on the former president's house?

Former president Donald Trump said Monday that the FBI had raided his Mar-a-Lago Club and searched his safe — activity related to an investigation into the potential mishandling of classified documents, according to two people familiar with the probe.

One of the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss its details, said agents were conducting a court-authorized search as part of a long-running investigation of whether documents — some of them top-secret — were taken to the former president’s private golf club and residence instead of sent to the National Archives when Trump left office. That could be a violation of the Presidential Records Act, which requires the preservation of memos, letters, notes, emails, faxes and other written communications related to a president’s official duties.

The inventory of unclassified items in the boxes that were recovered earlier this year from Mar-a-Lago is roughly 100 pages long, according to a person familiar with that document. Descriptions of items that were improperly taken to Mar-a-Lago include a cocktail napkin, a phone list, charts, slide decks, letters, memos, maps, talking points, a birthday dinner menu, schedules and more, this person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the ongoing investigation.

There is a separate inventory for just the classified materials that were taken to the former president’s Florida residence, this person said. If the unclassified version of the classified inventory were organized in the same way as the inventory of nonclassified items, it would be about three pages long, according to this person.

Of course this is unprecedented, just like so much of the XPOTUS's administration. I do like the irony of the FBI executing the search warrant on the anniversary of Nixon's resignation, though. Pity the XPOTUS didn't see the connection.

Plan for Sunday: read, write, nap

However, to get to Sunday, I have to finish a messy update to my work project, rehearse for several hours tomorrow, figure out a marketing plan for a product, and walk Cassie for hours.

I also want to read these things:

And tonight I'm going to watch Neil Gaiman's Sandman on Netflix, which has gotten pretty good reviews.

Still ridiculously busy

At least I don't have an opera rehearsal tonight. That means I might, just might, have some time to read these once I finish preparing for a 7am meeting tomorrow:

Finally, the old Morton Salt plant on Chicago's Near North Side opened last night as a new music venue called "The Salt Shed." It even got a new coat of paint.

Future heat

James Fallows highlights a new US government website that maps how bad the climate will get in your town:

Let me give just a few illustrations from the first such climate-based public map the White House has released, HEAT.gov. The main points about all this and related “digital dashboards” (like the one for Covid) and maps:

  • They are customizable. You can see your immediate neighborhood, or the entire world.
  • They are configurable. You can see the “real” weather as of 2020, and the projected weather as of many decades from now.
  • They can be combined. You can overlay a map of likely future flood zones, with areas of greatest economic and social vulnerabilities.

First, a map showing the priority list of communities most at risk from heat stress some decades from now. This is based on an overlay of likely future temperatures, with current resources and vulnerabilities, and other factors and trends.

Number one on this future vulnerability list is in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Number ten is in Arkansas. In between, at number seven, is my own home county in California. You can tune the map to your own interests here. It is meant to serve as a guide for preparation, avoidance, and resilience.

Pretty cool stuff. At the moment, Chicago's weather seems pretty reasonable for July, but the forecast calls for hot and awful weather later this week. And that will keep happening as climate change keeps pushing more energy into the atmosphere.

I did not win the lottery

But someone did after buying a ticket at a Speedway gas station in nearby Des Plaines, Ill.:

Someone in a Chicago suburb beat the odds and won the $1.28 billion Mega Millions jackpot.

According to megamillions.com, there was one jackpot-winning ticket in the draw Friday night, and it was bought at a Speedway gas station and convenience store in Des Plaines.

The jackpot was the nation’s third-largest lottery prize. It grew so large because no one had matched the game’s six selected numbers since April 15. That’s 29 consecutive draws without a jackpot winner.

The $1.28 billion prize is for winners who choose the annuity option, paid annually over 29 years. Most winners opt for the cash option, which for Friday night’s drawing was an estimated $747.2 million.

The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302.5 million.

Because each ticket costs $2, the break-even jackpot for Mega Millions is $605.2 million. That is, $2 is 1/302,575,350 of $605,150,700; therefore, a single $2 ticket is a reasonable bet for any jackpot larger than that. At $1.3 billion, two tickets give you an optimum risk-reward curve.

So, yes, I bought 3 tickets (thus wasting $2). Yet I did not win. Which is too bad, because I had planned to use the winnings to set up a fund for K-12 math education throughout Illinois, emphasizing those areas of the state with the highest per-capita lottery purchasing.

I sincerely hope that whoever won last night gets good legal and financial advice.

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.

Sure Happy It's Thursday

So, what's going on today?

Finally, I meant to post this earlier: Cassie, plotzed, after getting home from boarding Sunday night.

Friday night, Saturday afternoon

More photos from last weekend. I mentioned The Samuel Palmer in Shoreham, Kent, where I stopped after my hike through the Kentish Downs. I didn't mention that I had a delightful cheese plate for dinner, because cheese:

Then I got to experience four Chicago blocks' worth of an English country road at 10:30pm getting to the railway station:

On Saturday, I walked along the Regent's Canal on my way to the Southampton Arms:

Which remains, as ever, one of my favorite pubs in the world:

I will return to all of these places in due course.

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.