The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Off you go, then, guv. Cheerio!

Former Illinois Governor George Ryan will join a growing club of incarcerated Illinois politicians next Wednesday:

A federal appeals court today denied former Gov. George Ryan's bid to remain free on bail while he asks the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn his corruption conviction.

The ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago increases the likelihood that Ryan must report to prison by Nov. 7. He can still ask the U.S. Supreme Court to extend his bail, however.

Today's Daily Parker

My friend Sean visited over the weekend and brought with him a stuffed toy his wife made for Parker. The results were predictable, though Parker dispatched this one much faster than the vet toy he got for his birthday:

Half an hour later:

The next morning:

Thank you anyway, Val. Parker said the toy was delicious. (Just don't ask me about his walk that evening.)

Recall? Bad call

The Chicago Tribune ran an editorial Sunday calling for a recall amendment to the Illinois constitution. My response:

Regardless of what you think of Blagojevich's performance, Illinois needs a recall amendment like a fish needs a bicycle.

Illinois has two perfectly adequate constitutional mechanisms for removing a governor: election and impeachment. If the governor is really all that bad, let the legislature impeach him. If not, we'll have a referendum on his performance soon enough—and his critics can moot someone else to run against him then. Either way, the legislature and courts are more than sufficiently powerful to prevent him doing severe harm to the state, as they have prevented other governors in the past. (They've even prevented other governors from doing good things for the state. Forestalling damage should be easy by comparison.)

Our government is designed to be responsive to the will of the people but resistent to the whims of the mob. Removing an executive from office by popular recall may seem like the epitome of democracy, but as the founders of the U.S. knew well, and as many millions of others have learned around the world, it's actually fundamentally undemocratic.

The recall of Gray Davis was essentially a legally-sanctioned coup d'état by a well-financed but very small minority. Had he served out his term, the publication of Enron's malfeasance in manipulating California's energy supply would have vindicated him in time to let him stand a fair election against his critics. He may not have been re-elected; but we'll never know, because he didn't have a fair fight.

If you think the governor should be removed from office, tell your state representative and state senator, who have to stand for re-election before he does. If there's sufficient outcry, the House will act; if not, or if the House fails to act despite the will of the people, we have the opportunity to replace the lot of them next year. Meantime, we shouldn't sacrifice democracy for mob rule.

Today's Daily Parker

The splash of sunlight on Parker's face makes me think he's probably a pretty happy dog, despite the crate:

He got some additional training this week, mostly a review of the basics (heel, sit, down, stay), but with an emphasis on duration. So I'm proud to report he can now stay for 10 minutes while I kick a tennis ball around him. Inside he'll wait almost 45 minutes before complaining.

Really, though, I needed the reveiw. I've been too lax, it seems, allowing him to get away with a lot of bad behavior. So I got trained a bit, too, which seems to be helping us both.

ALS Registry Act passes

Congress has passed legislation creating a national registry of people with ALS:

The legislation would establish the first ever national patient registry of people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, to be administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The registry would collect information leading to the cause, treatment and cure of the deadly neurological disease that took the life of baseball legend Lou Gehrig in 1941.

In tangentially-related news, Saturday's remembrance will be at 11 at the Kenilworth Union Church.

Back, I think

My body doesn't know if I got up this morning at 7 or midnight. I can't decide whether or not I'm hungry. And because I neglected to check email for two days, I had 980 messages totalling over 600 MB (one of my friends sent me the, of which 650 were spam.

I will now collect my dog.

Wish you were here

I'm traveling this week. Three guesses where:

So far it's been great. It only rained a bit on Thursday. Today I was on a train most of the day, as I will be tomorrow. Exhausting but fun.

More later.

Krugman on Movement Conservatism

He nails it:

People claim to be shocked by the Bush administration's general incompetence. But disinterest in good government has long been a principle of modern conservatism. In "The Conscience of a Conservative," published in 1960, Barry Goldwater wrote that "I have little interest in streamlining government or making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size."

People claim to be shocked at the Bush administration's efforts to disenfranchise minority groups, under the pretense of combating voting fraud. But Reagan opposed the Voting Rights Act, and as late as 1980 he described it as "humiliating to the South."

Above all, people claim to be shocked by the Bush administration's authoritarianism, its disdain for the rule of law. But a full half-century has passed since The National Review proclaimed that "the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail," and dismissed as irrelevant objections that might be raised after "consulting a catalogue of the rights of American citizens, born Equal"—presumably a reference to the document known as the Constitution of the United States.

Remember: unless you're rich, white, male, and a bigot, the Greedy Old Party is against you. (If you're middle-class, white, male, and a bigot, they're also using you like cheap toilet paper.)