The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Tomorrow will be quieter

Today, though, I've got a lot of debugging, and several chorus meetings on various topics, plus a condo association meeting that I really don't want to attend. Since I'm president of both the chorus and the condo association (one voluntary, one voluntold), I can't shirk either.

Meanwhile, some of the grain silos that remind Beirut of the massive government incompetence that led to a massive aluminum nitrate explosion two years ago today collapsed, fortunately before the memorial began.

And one of the four finalists in the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) competition for a quantum-computer-resistant encryption algorithm got cracked by the equivalent of a home laptop in an hour.

Other newsworthy things happened today but I've got to get back to debugging.

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.

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.

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.

Practical advice on getting narcissists out of politics

This evening I finished psychologist Bill Eddy's Why we elect narcissists and sociopaths and how we can stop. It turns out, we just need to be rational!

OK, so, that's not likely. But Eddy does lay out the obvious: we need to stop electing narcissists and sociopaths. We also need to watch out for sick politicians dividing us into 4 groups that could work together but don't: Loyalists, Resisters, Moderates, and dropouts. The three groups who don't have automatic loyalty to the narcissist in question always outnumber the Loyalists.

In other words, when a politician says "I alone can fix it," the correct response is to ensure he (it's always "he") never holds any power. Because he will always try to increase his power to the detriment of everyone around him. And he will never fix it.

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.

The world Clarence Thomas wrought

Writing in The New Yorker last week, Corey Robin argues that the violent and authoritarian world-view of Justice Thomas (R) has much more internal consistency than we on the left usually ascribe to it, but that doesn't make it better:

Thomas’s argument against substantive due process is more than doctrinal. It’s political. In a speech before the Federalist Society and the Manhattan Institute which he gave in his second year on the Court, Thomas linked a broad reading of the due-process clause, with its ever-expanding list of “unenumerated” rights, to a liberal “rights revolution” that has undermined traditional authority and generated a culture of permissiveness and passivity. That revolution, which began with the New Deal and peaked in the nineteen-sixties, established the welfare state, weakened criminal law, and promulgated sexual freedom. The result has been personal dissipation and widespread disorder. Workers lose their incentive to labor. Men abandon wives and children. Criminals roam and rule the streets.

Liberals often claim that there is something hypocritical, if not perverse, about conservatives enshrining the right to bear arms without enshrining the right to abortion. Conservatives have an easy response: one right is found in the Constitution, both as tradition and text; the other is not. That’s what Justice Samuel Alito argues in Dobbs and in his concurrence, the day before, in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., et al. v. Bruen, which struck down part of New York’s concealed-carry law.

Bodily autonomy is so foundational to contemporary understandings of freedom, however, that it’s hard to imagine a reason for denying it to women other than the fact that they are women. The fetish for guns, meanwhile, can seem like little more than a transposition of America’s white settler past onto its white suburban present....

Today’s felt absence of physical security is the culmination of a decades-long war against social welfare. In the face of a state that won’t do anything about climate change, economic inequality, personal debt, voting rights, and women’s rights, it’s no wonder that an increasing portion of the population, across all racesgenders, and beliefs, have determined that the best way to protect themselves, and their families, is by getting a gun. A society with no rights, no freedoms, except for those you claim yourself—this was always Thomas’s vision of the world. Now, for many Americans, it is the only one available.

To sum up our current state of affairs: it might have helped the United States if politicians on the left had taken seriously the worries that many of us expressed about the right's march to power. A minority dedicated to controlling the majority can succeed for a long, long time, until it wrecks the foundations of the society too much to survive. Just ask South Africa how that can go.