The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Spring, fall, winter...Chicago?

It's 14°C right now, going down to -3°C tonight. Then it's back up to 8°C on Friday. Because why wouldn't the beginning of winter feel like April?

While you ponder that, read this:

Finally, Whisky Advocate has a good explainer taking the water of life from barrels in Scotland to the glass in your American kitchen.

Probably the last warm day of the year

Cassie and I took a 33-minute walk at lunchtime and we'll take another half-hour or so before dinner as the temperature grazes 14°C this afternoon. Tomorrow and each day following will cool off a bit until Wednesday, the first official day of winter, which will return to normal.

Meanwhile...

Finally, Amazon's ads really have gotten to the point where it's "a tacky strip mall filled with neon signs pointing you in all the wrong directions."

And in just a few hours, I will tuck into this:

I may run out of mason jars though...

Scary deployment today

I'm just finishing up a very large push to our dev/test environment, with 38 commits (including 2 commits fixing unrelated bugs) going back to last Tuesday. I do not like large pushes like this, because they tend to be exciting. So, to mitigate that, I'm running all 546 unit tests locally before the CI service does the same. This happens when you change the basic architecture of an entire feature set. (And I just marked 6 tests with "Ignore: broken by story X, to be rewritten in story Y." Not the best solution but story Y won't work if I don't push this code up.)

So while I'm waiting for all these unit tests to run, I've queued all this up:

Finally, one of Chicago's last vinyl record stores, Dave's in Lincoln Park, will close at the end of this month. The building's owner wants to tear it down, no doubt to build more condos, so Dave has decided to "go out in a blaze of glory."

All right...all my tests passed locally. Here we go...

Poor, neglected dog

Between my actual full-time job and the full-time job I've got this week preparing for King Roger, Cassie hasn't gotten nearly the time outdoors that she wants. The snow, rain, and 2°C we have today didn't help. (She doesn't mind the weather as much as I do.)

Words cannot describe how less disappointed I am that I will have to miss the XPOTUS announcing his third attempt to grift the American People, coming as it does just a few hours after US Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) announced his bid for Senate Minority Leader. Sad dog, sad turtle, sad party.

Now to walk the dog, pack the bag, and head to the Sitzprobe. But man, my sitz already feels probed.

Hobbs takes Arizona

The Democratic Party got another governor yesterday when Katie Hobbs beat election-denier and former news anchor Kari Lake 51%-49%.

Someday this won't make any sense at all, but this was the perfect meme for Hobbs' win:

Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Lake also had a delicious spat on Twitter. Cheney's response gets a chef's kiss from The Daily Parker.

I recognize that links to Twitter will just be lint by this time next year, but for now, enjoy.

Good morning, US Senate!

US Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) held her seat, as did Mark Kelly (D-AZ), meaning the Democratic Party has held the Senate:

[W]ith Ms. Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada, Democrats have nailed down the 50 seats they need to retain control of the upper chamber, a major feat considering that voters typically punish the president’s party during the midterms.

The Democratic victory will bolster Mr. Biden’s political capital as he moves toward a possible bid for a second term. Even if Republicans do take the House, he will be able to stock the judiciary with his nominees and will be insulated from politically freighted G.O.P. legislation. And Democrats will be free to mount their own investigations to counter the threatened onslaught from a Republican-controlled lower chamber.

A Democratic Senate will be invaluable to Mr. Biden, even if Republicans narrowly secure control of the House. In addition to having two more years to confirm judges, the president will have more control over personnel in his government with the confirmation of nominees under the guidance of Mr. Schumer.

There was fist-pumping at my table last night at Rachael Yamagata's concert. I don't know if Yamagata knew the result during her set, but I'd like to think I saw an extra bit of optimism in her eyes.

It does look like we will lose the House, but I do love these two bits:

  • Democrats picked up a seat in the 3rd congressional district in Washington state, a district that had been held by a Republican, Jamie Herrera Beutler. But she voted for former President Trump's impeachment and was ousted by the right in the primary. There's an irony in the fact that she was ousted because she voted to impeach Trump and, now, a Democrat has taken over that seat. It's indicative of the broader message in this election.
  • One of the other races with a razor-thin margin is Rep. Lauren Boebert's seat. The conservative lightning rod had been trailing in this right-leaning district on Election Night, but is now up by just over 1,000 votes. The race appears to be trending in her direction. But it's a result that is far closer than what was expected.

On Boebert's race, keep in mind she beat a sitting Republican 55-45 in the June 2020 primary and went on to win 52-45 in the general by running as a MAGA extremist. Will she feel any contrition? Probably not. But she hasn't said anything since Tuesday, so we know she's rattled.

A better morning than I expected

Democrats picked up a US Senate seat in Pennsylvania with Lt Governor John Fetterman defeating charlatan carpetbagger Oz Mehmet handily. And at least one far-right troll, US Rep Lauren Boebert (R-CO), may lose her seat to a challenger.  So far, though, control of the House remains unknown, even as Democrats look likely to hold the Senate.

One of the night's biggest losers was the XPOTUS, whose hand-picked candidates—not one of them qualified for office—did worse than expected.

Even better, states resoundingly defeated anti-abortion measures and supported pro-choice ones, including in Kentucky, Michigan, California, and Vermont.

Plus, it looks like Republicans failed to win a veto-proof majority in their heavily-Gerrymandered legislature, even though Republican Ted Budd won the open US Senate seat.

Finally, in an historic win, Democrat Wes Moore beat his Republican challenger to become the first African-American governor of Maryland.

So we ended the night very close to where we started, albeit with hundreds of thousands of votes yet to be counted. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) may well become House Speaker on January 3rd, but with a 2- or 3-vote majority—which still means endless hearings, but also means he'll have to hold his caucus together with spit and baling wire.

Fifteen minutes of voting

Even with Chicago's 1,642 judges on the ballot ("Shall NERDLY McSNOOD be retained as a circuit court judge in Cook County?"), I still got in and out of my polling place in about 15 minutes. It helped that the various bar associations only gave "not recommended" marks to two of them, which still left 1,640 little "yes" ovals to fill in.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world...

Finally, Chicago gets a new brewery taproom on Thursday when Hop Butcher to the World opens in Half Acre's former Lincoln Avenue space, just over 2 km from my house. Cassie and I might find out on Saturday whether they let dogs in, assuming the forecast holds. (And there it is: a post that literally checks all the boxes for Daily Parker categories!)

Between a demo and a 5-point feature

I'm running all 538 unit tests in my real job's application right now after updating all the NuGet packages. This is why I like automated testing: if one of the updated packages broke anything, tests will fail, and I can fix the affected code. (So far they've all passed.)

This comes after a major demo this morning, and a new feature that will consume the rest of the sprint, which ends next Monday. Oh, and I have two opera rehearsals this week. Plus I have to vote tomorrow, which could take 15 minutes or two hours.

So it's not likely I'll have time to read all of these:

Regardless, I'm setting an alarm for just past 4am to see the total lunar eclipse tonight. NOAA predicts 17% sky cover, so I should get a good view of it. Unless I go back to sleep.

The 118th Congress

If, as seems likely, the Republicans take over the House next January, they will likely either blow up the United States welfare state or the world economy, depending on how the Democrats react:

In several recent posts I’ve told you that most of the near-term (pre-2024) dangers of a GOP House majority are manageable. I don’t mean no big deal. It’s disaster after disaster. But I mean manageable in the sense of things the country can get through. With one exception, a debt limit hostage taking stand off in 2023 in which House Republicans force the first US debt default in US history.

The demand from House Republicans will likely be some combination of ‘Repeal all the stuff you passed in 2021’ or ‘Cut Social Security and Medicare’ or we force a US debt default. Adam thinks that faced with this cataclysm Democrats, albeit kicking and screaming, will feel compelled to relent because the consequences of default are that bad. For the elected officials, especially on the Senate side, that may well be true. But I have a different read on those elected officials constituents. I think there is less than zero appetite among Democrats for even entertaining the idea of such a negotiation. I think any move in this direction will spur a rebellion among Democrats nationwide. This is why I think the country will go into default. Because House Republicans are entirely ready to shoot the hostage. Indeed, there is a portion of the GOP House caucus that is not only entirely willing to take that step but is eager to do so.

Krugman examines the GOP's targets, and what they mean:

Republican plans to cut Medicare and Social Security would impose widespread hardship, with some of the worst impacts falling on red-state, noncollege whites — that is, the party’s most loyal base.

Why, then, does the party want to do this? We needn’t take claims that it’s about fiscal responsibility seriously; a fiscally responsible party wouldn’t be seeking to make the Trump tax cuts permanent or oppose giving the I.R.S. the resources it needs to crack down on tax cheats. What we’re seeing, instead, is that despite its populist rhetoric, the G.O.P. is still very much a party of and for the rich.

If Republicans win one or both houses of Congress, they’ll try to achieve their goals not though the normal legislative process but through blackmail. They’ll threaten to provoke a global financial crisis by refusing to raise the debt limit. If Democrats defang that threat, Republicans will try to get what they want by making America ungovernable in other ways.

In what other ways will the GOP make the country ungovernable? Georgetown Law professor Jeff Chavetz lays it out:

Most obviously, the pace of legislation is likely slow to a trickle — though perhaps not dry up completely. But a Republican House could do more than simply reduce the amount of legislation passed by Congress; it could also use powers entirely within its own control to assert itself in the political sphere. It would very likely use the chamber’s oversight powers aggressively, which might include keeping a close eye on the administration’s carrying out of laws passed in the current Congress. So, for example, we should expect Republican-controlled committees to keep a sharp watch for any purportedly wasteful spending under the Inflation Reduction Act — and if they find anything amiss, to make as big a stink as possible.

If Republicans capture the Senate as well as the House, their options will expand even more. They could pass at least some messaging legislation that President Biden would be forced to veto, thus setting up advantageous (for the Republicans) policy contrasts in advance of the 2024 elections. And they could refuse to confirm most (or all) of Mr. Biden’s nominees, making it harder for him to process his agenda through executive agencies and to reshape the federal judiciary.

At the most extreme, they could impeach President Biden or members of his administration.

Because, remember, the Republicans don't want to govern; they want to rule. This has been true for half a century. And unfortunately, we might have neglected vast swaths of our citizens for so long that the country might have to experience something worse than Democratic elitism or ordinary Republican country-club governance before we return to our senses.

The American Right, having gotten this close to power, won't give up soon. Even though we can see how much damage they'll cause in the next generation, we might just have to suffer through it.