The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Stuff to read, vol. 2,048

Still busy. So busy.

And now I have to set up a development environment.

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay there

Recaps of the debate comprise just a few of the things I haven't had time to read today:

Back to my meetings.

Debate slow blogging 2016

Sigh. Here we go again.

21:14 EDT: Fifteen minutes on the 2nd Amendment, argued by someone who has never read the thing. And now, abortion, which apparently will be overturned "automatically" if he appoints pro-life judges.

21:19: No, Donald, you can't rip the baby out of the womb in the 9th month. I mean, FFS.

21:22: It took fully 15 minutes for him to descend into a stream-of-consciousness. That's pretty good self-control. (Did he just say "bad hombres?")

21:24: This, from my cousin.

21:26: No score after 4. Arguably more useful for the typical Chicagoan than this debate.

21:29: You know, in any other election, it would be really weird for a major candidate to say that the Russians have committed espionage against her campaign.

21:32: This is a long way from Lincoln-Douglas, isn't it?

21:36: "You're not going to find a quote from me." Oh, dearie dearie dear.

21:40: She's going to double my taxes? I'm absolutely certain that is mathematically impossible for me, but if she doubled your taxes it would still be...what, zero?

21:49: "Excuse me. My turn."

21:54: So...he's projecting the incitement to violence that he has perpetrated, onto her?

21:55: Apparently some people have objected to the Ewoks comment at 21:24. This only proves the Ewok Line.

22:01: Trump is calling the Clinton Foundation a "criminal enterprise." Half of all people being treated for HIV-AIDS in the world are getting it from the Foundation. Criminally, I suppose.

22:04: "There's no way to know if he's telling the truth" because he hasn't released his tax returns. "Undocumented immigrants in America are paying more in income tax than a billionaire."

22:06: "Will you absolutely accept the results of this election?" "I will look at it at the time."

22:16: "Google 'Donald Trump Iraq.'"

22:21: Trump keeps referring to "the Great Migration." Is he suggesting Clinton is responsible for African-Americans moving from the rural southern U.S. to northern cities?

22:25: Oh, FFS, Matthews. The national debt isn't in itself an issue. Why is this so hard for people? Read Krugman on IS = LM.

22:30: And the last question of this debate cycle is a right-wing hobby horse. Yes, there is bias in the media, and it's pro-Republican.

22:32: "Such a nasty woman." Projection much?

22:34: Final answer of the 2016 debates. Not a moment too soon.

22:37: That is the last time I will ever voluntarily listen to Donald Trump speak in my life. I know he'll be in the news for the next few weeks, but damn, I can't even.

Lots of steps

A couple of milestones today.

First, just a couple of days before my 2-year anniversary with Fitbit, I've earned what they call the "Africa Badge:" I've walked 8,046 km since I joined, which is approximately the north-south length of Africa.

More interestingly, today is the 235th anniversary of Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown, an anniversary Alexander Hamilton may have been aware of when, 15 years later, he slyly accused Thomas Jefferson of having an affair with a slaves. The allegation was true, though few people reading Hamilton's editorial would have believed it, but it may have nudged the 1796 election to fellow Federalist John Adams.

Neither of these things has anything to do with me walking a lot in the last two years, of course.

Heavy sigh.

Why am I not super-excited about the Cubs being in the playoffs? Well, take tonight's game, for example. Right towards the end, Fox Sports' color guy pointed out that in 200 postseason appearances, the Dodgers have never had back-to-back shutouts.

Until tonight.

You know what? Call me when the Cubs win their third game in this series.


Blue cap

I'd planned to wear a Cubs hat every day during the NLCS and World Series this year. Yesterday, however, Hamilton took precedence. I won't make that mistake again. The Cubs are now 1-1 with the Dodgers, and they still have to win 7 more games this year.

I'm also swamped at work.

Projection? No kidding

James Fallows says something that I've been thinking for a while:

To a first order of approximation, everything that Donald Trump has said about his opponents should be understood as projection, in the psychological sense of the term. That is, any defect Trump has complained about in his primary or general-election opponents, is more likely to seem an obvious flaw in himself.

Trump called Ted Cruz “Lyin’ Ted,” and Cruz has his moments. But no other politician of any party approaches Trump’s level of nonstop falsehood on matters large and small. Trump says that Hillary Clinton is secretive and scheming, and she too has her moments. But no other modern politician has matched Trump’s secrecy about his business operations or his taxes. He is hyper-attentive to other people’s weight gains, but is quite pudgy himself.

With that buildup, here is the latest what the hell? moment from the Trump campaign:  his suggestion today in New Hampshire that the candidates take a drug test before the third and final presidential debate.

I have no grounds for suggesting that Trump himself needs to be tested for drugs. But if anyone were to suggest that, wild claims like this would be part of the case.

Maybe all that sniffing at the first two debates had something to it...

Two tales of bad Republican policies hurting ordinary people

First, from Crain's, an exploration of the ghost town inside Naperville, Ill., where millions of dollars evaporated when the housing bubble burst in 2008:

At the height of the building boom, Novack estimates, there were 88 homebuilders working in Naperville. "Everyone was building homes then," he says. "It was the best business to be in." The bust took that figure down to "maybe a dozen," Novack says, though in recent years it's grown back to around 30. Homebuilding has been in a trough throughout the region, not only in Naperville. Builders sold 25,105 new homes in the Chicago area in 2006, according to Schaumburg-based industry tracker Tracy Cross & Associates, and in 2015 sold less than 15 percent of that.

If only Alan Greenspan had taken an economic view instead of an ideological one in the mid-2000s and put the brakes on runaway lending. Oh, and if we'd had financial oversight. But Republicans believe in everyone making it on their own: i.e., the richest making it on their own by not having to deal with the protections we put in place in the 1930s and 1940s, the last time this happened.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the incoming Christie administration moved money around the state budget to cut taxes, and he cancelled an enormous Hudson River tunnel project ostensibly to protect the state from cost overruns. The effects of his policies (which are consistent with Republican ideology) were calamitous for public transport. The New York Times explains in detail the effects on New Jersey Transit in particular:

Under the administration of Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, the state subsidy for the railroad has plunged by more than 90 percent. Gaping holes in the agency’s past two budgets were filled by fare increases and service reductions or other cuts. And plans for a new tunnel under the Hudson River — one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the country — were torpedoed by Mr. Christie, who pushed for some of the money to be diverted to road-building projects. 

The result can be felt by commuters daily. So far this year, the railroad has racked up at least 125 major train delays, about one every two days. Its record for punctuality is declining, and its trains are breaking down more often — evidence that maintenance is suffering.

Midway through Mr. Christie’s first year as governor, New Jersey Transit was spending about $1.35 billion on projects to maintain and improve service. By the middle of last year, that figure had fallen by more than half, to about $600 million.

Again, Republican low-tax, low-service policies benefit the rich (who don't care about public services but do care about taxes) at the expense of everyone else (who pay much less in taxes to begin with but do care about public services).

With 26 days until the election, maybe we should pay attention to down-ballot races and their consequences. You want to make America great again? Quit electing people who don't care about you.