The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Deprogramming Fox News viewers

Via (of all people) Dan Savage, if you or someone you love watches Fox News, HearYourselfThink.org can help:

The first step to freeing America from the toxic influence of the Right-wing Media Noise Machine is to pull back the curtain and expose it for what it is and for the harm it is inflicting on our culture, communities and Democracy.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of ammunition to help us in this effort.

We should take heart that we are seeing the beginning of a shift where Americans (including high-profile Republicans) are increasingly aware of, and vocal about, the concerted effort by the extreme Right to manipulate the media toward a radical ideological agenda and the dangerous consequences for our country.

He also recommends watching Jen Senko's documentary The Brainwashing Of My Dad, whose trailer I give you here:

June to March in 12 hours

The Tribune has a graphic up demonstrating how Chicago temperatures dropped 20°C in one day. We went from a high temperature of 28°C at 4pm Monday down to a morning low of 7°C by 7pm Tuesday.

I should mention that I had several windows open Monday night, and closed them around 4am. That helped a little, but it would have helped more had I turned the heat on.

Despite the colder weather, through yesterday I've had six consecutive days of 15,000+ steps, including two of better than 20,000. Today looks promising as well. Fitbit also has a new feature that awards a pip for each clock hour in which you get 250 or more steps, the idea being to get you off your ass. I've got my app set to count from 8am to 9pm. Since Friday, I've had 13 of 13 hours four of five possible days—and today looks pretty likely as well. (The trick is to take Parker for a walk at 5 minutes before the hour, which gets me two pips in 10 minutes.

Stunning development

Breaking from more than 60 years of tradition, on May 11th the National Weather Service will stop using ALL CAPS in its forecasts:

The National Weather Service has proposed to use mixed-case letters several times since the 1990s, when widespread use of the Internet and email made teletype obsolete. In fact, in web speak, use of capital letters became synonymous with angry shouting. However, it took the next 20 years or so for users of Weather Service products to phase out the last of the old equipment that would only recognize teletype.

Recent software upgrades to the computer system that forecasters use to produce weather predictions, called AWIPS 2offsite link (The Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System), are allowing for the change to mixed-case letters. The switch will happen on May 11, after the required 30-day notification period to give customers adequate time to prepare for the change.

Yes, we only have about two weeks left to prepare for this MOMENTOUS CHANGE. I can scarcely believe it myself...

What the what?

It looks like David Koch has left the reservation:

In the interview with chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl, which aired on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," Charles Koch said Bill Clinton had done a better job than George W. Bush in controlling government growth while president.

"So is it possible another Clinton could be better than another Republican?" Karl asked.

"It's possible," Koch responded.

"You couldn't see yourself supporting Hillary Clinton, could you?" Karl pressed.

Koch responded: "Well, I - that - her - we would have to believe her actions would be quite different than her rhetoric, let me put it that way. But on some of the Republican candidates we would - before we could support them - we'd have to believe their actions will be quite different than the rhetoric we've heard so far."

Now, as Josh Marshall pointed out, this doesn't mean that Koch actually supports Clinton. But he's not actually supporting Trump either. This is getting pretty interesting.

Decent weekend so far

Today's weather was finally spring-like, meaning twenty degrees warmer away from the lake than near it. But Parker still got over an hour of walkies, I've gotten (so far) about 18,000 steps, and all the windows in my house are open for the first time in about a month.

Also, I made a decent showing yesterday at a trivia tournament (tied for first place, but lost the tiebreaker), and today at a Euchre tournament (upper half of the pack, 7-2-1 overall record).

That is all. Time to feed the dog, and maybe walk another couple thousand steps.

Obituary: William Shakespeare

The New York Times notes the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death:

Poet, playwright, actor and theatrical-company shareholder, William Shakespeare (sometimes spelled Shakspeare, or Shagspere, or Shaxpere, or Shaxberd, or any number of blessed ways) died today, April 23, 1616, at his home in Stratford-upon-Avon. He was, more or less, 52. His passing was confirmed by his daughter Judith.

Over the course of three decades, Mr. Shakespeare rose from working-class obscurity in Warwickshire to become — acclaimed for his penetrating insights into the human character, his eloquent, flexible and infinitely expressive verse; and his readiness to burst the bounds of the English language (drawing on a vocabulary of more than 25,000 words).

The obituary includes pop-out notes and links, making it worth a few minutes of time to read.

Lessons from Alexander Hamilton

Paul Krugman leverages the Treasury's announcement that Alexander Hamilton is staying on the $10 note to remind us that Hamilton would have supported stepped-up U.S. government borrowing to fund infrastructure:

I have read Hamilton’s pathbreaking economic policy manifestoes, in particular his 1790 “First Report on the Public Credit,” a document that remains amazingly relevant today.

In that report, Hamilton proposed that the federal government assume and honor all of the debts individual states had run up during the Revolutionary War, imposing new tariffs on imported goods to raise the needed revenue. He believed that doing so would produce important benefits....

Unfortunately, policy makers won’t do the right thing, largely because they keep listening to fiscal scolds — people who insist that public debt is a terrible thing even when borrowing costs almost nothing. The influence of these scolds, their virtual veto over fiscal policy, somehow persists even though their predictions of soaring interest rates and runaway inflation keep not coming true.

The point is that Alexander Hamilton knew better.

Elsewhere, the Times and other evidence-based publications are welcoming the changes to the $20 note.