The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Whoo boy

Apparently everyone else got over Covid yesterday, too. Or they're just trying to make deadline before the holiday:

Finally, the Post analyzed a ton of weather forecasts and determined that forecasting Chicago weather is a lot harder than forecasting Miami's. The only glimmer of good news: today's 7-day forecasts are at least as accurate as the 3-day forecasts from the 1990s.

Long but productive day

I'm trying to get home a little earlier than usual, so this will be a lazy post. Stuff to read:

  • Hillary Clinton, who has debated both President Biden and the convicted-felon XPOTUS, has thoughts on tomorrow night's event.
  • Dana Milbank doesn't mourn Rep. Jamaal Bowman's (D-NY) loss last night, and neither do I.
  • If you hate corporations, you might want to support President Biden's increase to the corporate income tax as well as to his proposed increase in the share-buyback tax.
  • The village of Wheaton, Ill., would rather have 165 car crashes and multiple pedestrian fatalities on a stretch of stroad by a school and retirement community than spend $865,000 on a traffic light. (I mean, better that they didn't build the stroad in the first place, of course.)
  • A new report says that cancelling New York City's congestion tax will kill 100,000 jobs.

Finally, today is the 50th anniversary of the very first time a UPC got scanned in a grocery store. Happy shopping.

Networks of contracts waste a lot of money

Via Bruce Schneier's recent essay on complexity, I found a blog post on the work of Ronald Coase, which really resonated:

Ronald Coase observed that an organisation could be considered as a collection of contracts, and asked why, in that case, did organisations even exist. His answer was that contractual relationships have transactions costs. When these transactions costs outweighed the expense of organisation, organisation would predominate. Also, there were limits to transaction; it might be actually impossible to specify what was wanted in a contract, or equivalently, it might cost too much to write it.

As often happens, the first half of this insight was more successful than the second. Since the 1980s, there has been a global trend towards replacing organisations with networks of contracts. The idea that a firm could be considered as a network of contracts was taken up by the management consulting industry, and strengthened from a positive observation to a normative statement that firms should become more so. In as much as anyone bothered with Coase’s corollary, it was simply to say that there was some sort of “core business” in there – presumably it was thought to be the zone in which transactions costs got high enough to demand organisation – and everything else must be contracted out.

In many ways, we’ve lived through a giant experiment in proving Ronald Coase wrong, which has now failed.

Healthcare in the United States is an especially egregious example of this. Americans, notoriously, spend much more than any other nation, have worse results, and leave lots of people uncovered. People blame, variously, insurance companies, doctors, drug companies, intermediary organisations, public policy, and patients themselves for getting ill. But none of this has ever solved anything. Everyone who has tried to nail down exactly what costs so much money has ended up concluding that the whole system is weirdly expensive and wasteful. That is, of course, the point. Its awfulness is an aspect of the system, not any one component or group of components.

I will have to read more about his work, or even (gasp!) read his work.

Another boring release

Every other Tuesday we release software, so that's what I just did. It was so boring we even pushed the bits yesterday evening. In theory we always have a code-freeze the night before a release, but in fact we sometimes have just one more thing to do before we commit this last bit of code...

And yet, the world outside keeps becoming less boring:

Finally, one of Chicago's oldest and most popular Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms, Angelic Organics, announced this season would be their last. I used to have a subscription, which resulted in a lot more kale than I ever wanted, but also some of the freshest produce I've ever had. They'll be missed.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it

The US Drug Enforcement Agency has signaled its impending approval for reclassifying THC as a Schedule III drug, which would allow companies to use the US banking system and others to conduct real research on the drug:

Even though the move, which if approved would kick off a lengthy rule-making process, does not end the criminalization of the drug, it would be a significant shift in how the government views the safety and use of marijuana for medical purposes.

It could also lead to the softening of other laws and regulations that account for the use or possession of cannabis, including sentencing guidelines, banking and access to public housing.

For more than half a century, marijuana has been considered a so-called Schedule I drug, classified on the same level as highly addictive substances like heroin that the Drug Enforcement Administration describes as having no currently accepted medical use.

Last year, the Health and Human Services Department recommended to the D.E.A. that marijuana should be a Schedule III drug, which would put it alongside less addictive substances like Tylenol with codeine, ketamine and testosterone, meaning that it would be subject to fewer restrictions on production and research, and that it could be taken with a prescription.

The news made my holdings in Green Thumb Industries jump 20% in the last hour (to, ahem, 3.5% above what I bought them for), and I'm not alone:

Moving marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug doesn't make it federally legal, but it would be a significant change for cannabis businesses and their employees: it would mean instant cash flow with access to banking opportunities, as well as loan opportunities which could lead to much faster expansion of the industry in states where marijuana is legal. It would also open the door to research grant opportunities and, most importantly, end a rigid tax regime that until now has stifled growth in the highly regulated industry.

Shares for Chicago's cannabis companies jumped on the news. Green Thumb Industries shares shot up 21% to $15.22, Verano rose 18% to $5.97 and Cresco Labs went up 16% to $2.54.

Besides instant liquidity, the rescheduling could open up loans, which could lead to much faster expansion of industry in states where marijuana is legal.

Marijuana needs regulation, same as alcohol and codeine; but the fiction that pot was just as dangerous as crack cocaine has always been laughable. I'm glad the US will finally join several of its peer nations in recognizing that.

The rise of Global Tetrahedron

The satirical newspaper The Onion just got bought by a newly-formed LLC called, yes, Global Tetrahedron. Longtime Onion readers will probably recognize the name; I had to remind myself.

Other events in the past day or so:

Time to fetch Cassie from school.

Scattered thunderstorms?

The forecast today called for a lot more rain than we've had, so Cassie might get more walkies than planned. Before that happens, I'm waiting for a build to run in our dev pipeline, and one or two stories piqued my interest to occupy me before it finishes:

Finally, after a couple of months of incoherent babbling, Voyager 1—now 24.3 million kilometers from Earth, 22.5 light-hours away, after 46 years and 7 months of travel—has started making sense again. Well, hello there!

Hoping not to get rained on this afternoon

A whole knot of miserable weather is sneaking across the Mississippi River right now, on its way to Chicago. It looks like, maybe, just maybe, it'll get here after 6pm. So if I take the 4:32 instead of the 5:32, maybe I'll beat it home and not have a wet dog next to me on the couch later.

To that end I'm punting most of these stories until this evening:

Finally, if you have an extra $500 lying around and want to buy a nice steak with it, Crain's has options ranging from 170 grams of Chateau Uenae rib-eye steak (and a glass of water) at RPM on down to a happy hour of rib-eye steak frites for eight at El Che. The txuleton at Asador Bastian for $83 seems like a good deal to me, even without three other people or a bottle of wine to bring the bill up to $500. But the Wagyu? Maybe if I get a bonus next year. A guy can dream.

Windy spring day

A cold front passed this morning right after I got to the office, sparing me the 60 km/h winds and pouring rain that made the 9am arrivals miserable. The rain has passed, but the temperature has slowly descended to 17°C after hanging out around 19°C all night. I might have to close my windows tonight.

I also completed a mini-project for work a few minutes ago, so I now have time to read a couple of stories:

And now, back to the next phase of the mini-project...

Walks like a duck, poops like a duck...

Attorney Liz Dye teams up with Legal Eagle to explain that the smell emanating from the Truth Social merger and meme stock listing is exactly what you think it is:

So if the XPOTUS gets re-elected, the shares become an intravenous emoluments delivery mechanism; if not, he can cash out and pay his legal bills.

I wonder if I can short it...