The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Not even attempting to conceal the corruption

US District Court Judge Aileen Cannon (R-SDFL) has dismissed the classified-documents case against the convicted felon rapist XPOTUS on the clearly erroneous grounds that Special Counsel Jack Smith's appointment violated the constitution:

[T]he judge...found that because Mr. Smith had not been named to the post of special counsel by the president or confirmed by the Senate, his appointment was in violation of the appointments clause of the Constitution.

The ruling by Judge Cannon, who was put on the bench by Mr. Trump, flew in the face of previous court decisions reaching back to the Watergate era that upheld the legality of the ways in which independent prosecutors have been named. And in a single swoop, it removed a major legal threat against Mr. Trump on the first day of the Republican National Convention, where he is set to formally become the party’s nominee for president.

I can scarcely imagine the 11th Circuit not rapping Cannon on the knuckles for this one, and possibly removing her from the case. But that wasn't the point; with only 112 days left until the election, this pushes the trial date well past it. Cannon doesn't care if the 11th removes her. She did her job, and she'll get promoted to the Court of Appeals or even SCOTUS should her patron return to power in January.

I wouldn't mind the Republican Party so much if they cared about anything other than power. We need a right-of-center party in this country. Instead we've got this band of thieves hiding behind white-male grievance. And like any organized criminal organization, they protect their own. It's exhausting.

You heard it here first, folks

I linked to an op-ed by Lawrence Tribe earlier today in which the constitutional scholar argues for something that first appeared right here in the Daily Parker in June 2020:

To repair the profound and growing problem of presidential unaccountability, we must dare to design a separate branch of government, outside the existing three, charged with investigating and prosecuting violations of federal criminal laws.

Yes! Just as I said, four years ago: we need an elected Attorney General, beholden only to the voters, and not to the other branches of government.

The XPOTUS and his Supreme Court appointees don't care about you

Yes, President Biden is old, but he doesn't want to recreate the world of Victor Hugo. The Republican Party does, and this morning, they showed how they'll do it.

The debate last night did not fill me with joy, as it showed my guy looking like the 82-year-old great-grandfather he is, and showed the convicted-felon other guy looking like the 78-year-old con artist he is. I may come back to this train wreck for democracy later today, but for now, I'd rather focus on why the President's geriatric performance matters less than what the convicted-felon XPOTUS gleefully took credit for.

And who better to demonstrate why a second convicted-felon XPOTUS term would set the country back two generations than the US Supreme Court, which just a few minutes ago handed down its third major decision this week demonstrating how the court's Republican majority does not think the government should prevent easily-preventable harm to innocent people.

In City of Grant Pass v Johnson, Justice Gorsuch (R) wrote the opinion for the usual suspects—Chief Justice Roberts (R) and Justices Alito (R), Kavanaugh (R), Thomas (R), and Barrett (R)—that allows cities to criminalize being homeless.

Yesterday, the same bunch limited the ability of the government to go after people who commit securities fraud (SEC v Jarkesky) and to keep our air clean (Ohio v EPA, also a Gorsuch opinion). Wednesday they said that you can tip public officials for good service (Snyder v US, by Kavanaugh).

And just now, it appears that the radical right has overturned its 1984 Chevron decision. In Loper Bright Enterprises v Raimondo, the Chief Justice says that Federal agencies, who are staffed by experts and people who know what they're doing, can't fill in the gaps that Congress (who generally don't know what they're doing) leaves in legislation. I will have a lot more to say about this development after I read the opinion.

These opinions are huge wins for people who want to cheat, steal, pollute, and punish others they see as inferior. The country this week lurched back into the mid-20th century, with the loony radical fringe salivating that they can bring us back to the mid-18th if the convicted-felon XPOTUS wins in November.

Because for the Justices that the convicted-felon XPOTUS appointed, plus of course the corrupt, Christianist radicals Alito and Thomas, if you lose your house and have to sleep rough after you invested in a fraudulent stock while choking on the air pollution from the unregulated chemical plant just across the state line from you, it's obviously your own fault, you dirty criminal.

So yes, I'm sorry, the President is an old man. But the convicted-felon XPOTUS and his Grand Old Party has caused an enormous amount of damage to the country, and will do so much more damage if put back into power next year.

What a lovely day to end Spring

Despite a high, thin broken cloud layer, it's 23°C with a light breeze and comfortable humidity at Inner Drive Technology World HQ. Cassie and I had a half-hour walk at a nice pace (we covered just over 3 km), and I've just finished my turkey sandwich. And yet, there's something else that has me feeling OK, if only for a little while...

Perhaps it's this? Maybe this? How about this? Or maybe it's Alexandra Petri?

In other news:

Finally, another solar storm, another cloudy night in Chicago: the Aurora Borealis may be visible as far south as Chicago overnight, just not in Chicago. As long as I can get Cassie on her daily long walk before the rain hits...

Watching for Air Force One

The President arrived in Chicago a little while ago, but sadly I haven't seen either his airplane or his helicopter. Apparently he's just a couple of blocks from me. I'll wave if I see him.

Meanwhile:

Finally, London houseboats, which one could pick up for under £40,000 just a few years ago, now go for £500,000 plus thousands in costs, pricing out the lower-income folks who used to live on them. They seem pretty cool, but good luck finding a mooring.

The chorus season is mostly over

After a week of rehearsals capped by two performances of some really challenging works by French and Swiss composers, I finally got a full 8½ hours of sleep last night. What a difference. Not just the needed rest, but also having a much smaller inbox (just one task for the chorus left until next week) and less to worry about.

Until I open a newspaper, of course:

  • The head of the political arm of Hamas, the terrorist group and de jure governing party in Gaza which has called for the annihilation of all Jews, claims to have accepted cease-fire terms that would avoid an Israeli invasion of Rafah, but Israel disputes this.
  • Six months out from the election, Walter Shapiro looks at President Biden's approval ratings and concludes they probably don't matter.
  • UMass Amherst professor Ethan Zuckerman has sued Facebook over a provision of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (47 USC 230) that could allow people to use third-party tools to block their social media. Zuckerman explains the suit in layman's terms in the Times.

Finally, a new bar claiming to be Chicago's first with an indoor dog park got a special-use permit, enabling them to open sometime this fall. B-A-R (as in, "who wants to go to the B-A-R?") still needs a liquor license, and will charge $25 per day or $50 per month per dog. I just passed by the site on Saturday, so I will note that it's directly across the street from some of Chicago's best thin-crust pizza. But $25 just to visit? Hm. The do know they're only a kilometer from a dog park, right?

Sam Alito has stopped pretending to be impartial

We always knew US Associate Justice Sam Alito (R) had a mediocre aura and a partisan bent, but before the Great Kentucky Turtle stole Merrick Garland's appointment and rushed through Comey Barrett's, Alito at least sometimes pretended to understand that the Supreme Court's legitimacy rested in part on people perceiving it as non-partisan.

This week he decided to abandon that pretense. First, when his questions in US v Idaho on Tuesday revealed that he has no interest at all in protecting adult women from pain or suffering:

The case, United States v. Idaho, is about whether emergency rooms in Idaho—a state that bans all abortions except those done to prevent death, not to preserve health—are in violation of a federal law that requires E.R. patients to be stabilized. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, or EMTALA, says hospitals that accept Medicare funding have to stabilize patients facing threats to their health, and for pregnant patients facing complications, the treatment is sometimes abortion.

During arguments, some of the male justices seemed content to talk about whether EMTALA’s funding conditions are an appropriate use of the Constitution’s spending clause, while the women were focusing on the medical harm Idaho’s law has caused to living, breathing women. Late in the argument, Alito—who wrote the majority opinion in Dobbs that allows laws like Idaho’s to be enforced—was upset that not enough time had been devoted to the existence of the words “unborn child” in the law about emergency room care.

Alito seems to have a habit of trying to slip one over the American public. In the other abortion case this term, concerning the fate of the abortion drug mifepristone, he referred to the Comstock Act not by name, but by statute number18 U.S.C. 1461. Comstock is a dormant, Victoria-era law that the power-hungry folks behind Project 2025, the proposed agenda for a second Trump term, expect the former president to revive and enforce in order to ban the mailing of abortion pills—if not all clinic supplies—should he win a second term.

Two days later, during oral arguments about whether the President of the United States can be held criminally liable for at all for actions taken while in office, Alito again expressed some opinions that would have made James Madison's blood boil:

During oral arguments, several Republican-appointed justices expressed concern that without immunity, former presidents might suddenly begin to face criminal prosecution with regularity. But Alito took this entirely hypothetical concern to an absurd conclusion: He worried that if presidents believed theirs successors could prosecute them, they might refuse to leave office peacefully when they lose reelection. Put another way, presidents need immunity from prosecution in order to encourage them to accept electoral defeat and preserve American democracy.

Considering that this entire case is about a president who sought to illegally remain in office—and whose supporters staged a violent insurrection to help him do just that—this was a stunning argument to make.

The irony of using Trump as the vehicle for enhancing presidential immunity out of a fear of increased instances of political prosecution never came up. But it’s worth remembering that Trump was elected in 2016 on a platform of locking up his political opponent. Throughout his presidency, he tried to use the Justice Department to launch politically motivated prosecutions and was dismayed that the norm of the department making its own prosecutorial decisions did not break down. He has even complained bitterly that his attorney general and other federal prosecutors refused to help him steal the election.

Josh Marshall has said that the entire Republican contingent on the Court is now nakedly partisan, and therefore nakedly corrupt. But we can still marvel at how far Justice Alito has strayed from anything resembling normal American jurisprudence.

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!