I haven't really formed an opinion on Sen. Obama's office giving an internship to the son of a guy who gave $10,000 to the 2004 campaign. I'm not really surprised, nor do I really think it's a big deal. I've got a sort-of meta-concern about it, because I think it presages the kinds of stories we'll have to read every week after Obama announces he's running for President.
Perhaps I've just got a typical native Chicagoan's indifference to petty nepotism. I'm wondering if this hints at a deeper connection with Rezko that will come out closer to the primaries next Winter. Or if, as it appears from the pro-Obama camp, this looks more like Rezko trying to get in with Obama, who in turn sensed the danger and kept Rezko at arm's length.
I'm sure we'll hear more about it over the summer.
This morning Parker hit a couple of huge milestones. First, as of today we've had Parker for three months. That's, what, almost two dog years? And my how he's grown:
And then, almost in celebration of the anniversary, Parker's universe changed overnight, causing at first some consternation, then glee. This morning Parker saw snow for the first time:
Anne reported that he first wouldn't go near it, then he probed it with his paw. At that moment there was a thunderclap, which rattled him. But after only a minute or two, he decided that it was kind of like the beach, and besides, he really had to go, so in he went.
All of this comes about because the first major snowstorm of the season has hit Chicago. By 6:00 CT (1200 UTC) we had 51 mm (2 in) of snow on the ground; now we have about 100 mm (4 in), and the storm still has more to dump on us. Here's the most recent radar image, clearly showing the center of the low off to our east, which means we've got stiff (30 km/h, 18 mph) north winds blowing snow down our necks:
Those of us old enough to remember the snowstorm of 1 December 1978 feel a little apprehensive. That day we got about 150 mm (6 in) of snow, followed by another 2.3 meters (90 in) over the next three months. The shopping center near my house had snowpiles as late as May 1st. This winter could easily be like 1978-79, because all the same conditions could exist: warmth, moisture, and a jet stream that stays just south of us.
In any event, Parker and the few stalwarts (Dexter, Louie, and Key) who showed up to the park this morning will have a lot of fun this winter. Anne and I will be picking up some extra gloves and long underwear just as soon as we shovel the car out.
Update: Anne, who quite justifiably is working from home today, just reported that Parker not only got to see snow for the first time today, but now he's seeing fire for the first time. Perhaps she'll send a photo?
The weather this weekend has obviously helped the CTA. Already by 9 this morning they had almost completed the Church St. viaduct replacement:
Also, a few days ago I posted a photo of the ivy on our building. Two days later, the leaves had fallen. Before and after:
Must be autumn.
The CTA is replacing a 102-year-old viaduct in Evanston this weekend. I think the process is kind of cool. They started Friday evening and they'll finish Monday early in the morning, in time for the Purple Line to take people to work. I suppose it helps that they have an extra hour to work tonight.
This is the result of their first 15 hours or work:
And here's the "before" picture (from mid-August):
I always get a little nervous when the bridge is held up by chicken-wire.
Congratulations to Anne's home-town team, the St. Louis Cardinals, winning the World Series against the team that the Cubs last played for the same title. As a Cubs fan, I had some difficulty rooting for the Cardinals (the teams' rivalry goes back to the beginnings of professional baseball in the 1880s), but since the Tigers are in the American League I managed to do so.
Also of note to St. Louisians, it was on this day in 1965 that engineers completed the Gateway Arch.
Cintas, a uniform company (they make and launder uniforms for nurses, security guards, etc.), has decided to follow a DHS proposal—it doesn't have the force of law—that encourages employers to fire workers who have Social Security-number mismatches or in other ways fail to re-verify that they are authorized to work in the U.S. The effect of this action will be to intimidate immigrant workers, legal or not, and help them keep their payroll costs down.
The thing is, this is none of the company's business. The affected workers may have legal problems with the IRS or with ICE, but for all practical purposes this doesn't affect the company one way or the other. I don't think Cintas can make a straight-faced claim that the legal status of a minimum-wage seamstress or launderer threatens their business. On the other hand, if their workers worry that in addition to having an expensive and frightening experience with Immigration they also might lose their jobs, they'll be a lot less likely to agitate for a living wage or safe working conditions.
One of my long-standing clients, a labor-rights organization, has documented so many of Cintas' anti-worker policies (starting with poverty wages) that this is really only the latest, not the worst. So if you ever have to rent uniforms for your business, don't use Cintas.
Our ivy looks cool, so I thought I'd share.
The Greedy Old Party (Gay Old Party?) made a massive advertising buy yesterday, $8.5 million, almost all of it for negative advertisements. Tammy Duckworth is the "beneficiary" of the largest single expenditure: $870,000. That's how scared the Republicans are they're going to lose the district. They should be.
The Chicago Tribune has endorsed two suburban Democrats in one week. How unexpected. Imagine the Wall Street Journal endorsing Hillary Clinton or Maxine Waters, and you have some idea why I'm surprised. Today they've endorsed Melissa Bean:
Rep. Bean has recognized the need to listen very carefully to her constituents--she's a Democrat in a district that gave 56 percent of its vote to President Bush in 2004. She has charted a moderate, independent course and earned the support of Republicans and Democrats. She has been strong on national defense. She took a risk by voting for the Central America Free Trade Agreement. She knew that would anger some in organized labor—but that it would help businesses in her district expand and create jobs. She is an advocate for small business, gaining her the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She has the Tribune's endorsement for a second term in the 8th Congressional District
Of course, they managed to be flip and condescending in their endorsement, headlining it "Melissa Bean's Moxie," but still, it's a step. They go on to refuse, pointedly, to endorse my representative, Jan Schakowsky; but since no one knows who's running against her, and last time she won with 76% of the vote, I'm not too worried.