In Florida yesterday, despite a constitutional amendment giving felons the right to vote after they've completed their sentences, the Republican-controlled legislature passed a law effectively preventing thousands of them from voting:
In a move that critics say undermines the spirit of what voters intended, thousands of people with serious criminal histories will be required to fully pay back fines and fees to the courts before they could vote. The new limits would require potential new voters to settle what may be tens of thousands of dollars in financial obligations to the courts, effectively pricing some people out of the ballot box.
The new restrictions have been attacked by civil rights groups and some of the initiative’s backers as an exercise in Republican power politics, driven by fears that people with felony convictions are mostly liberals who could reshape the electorate ahead of presidential elections in 2020 and beyond. Republicans have dominated Florida’s state government for more than two decades, but elections are often decided by a fraction of a percentage point.
Civil rights organizations [say] that legislators went too far, and that the more than five million Floridians who voted for the ballot measure did not intend for court debts to become an exception to the right to vote. The text of Amendment 4 said voting rights would be automatically restored for felons “after they complete all terms of their sentence including parole or probation.”
Republicans in power will do anything they can to stay in power. They don't want to govern; they want to rule. And letting people vote gets in the way of ruling.
Illinois governor JB Pritzker announced proposed legislation today that would legalize recreational marijuana and expunge low-level possession convictions retroactively:
The governor and lawmakers touted a central social justice provision of their proposal: Expunging what they estimate would be 800,000 low-level drug convictions. Revenue from Illinois’ marijuana industry would be reinvested in communities that lawmakers said have been “devastated” by the nation’s war on drugs.
Under the proposed rules, no new large-scale commercial growers would be permitted to set up shop here, at least for now. Instead, the focus would be on small “craft” growers, with an emphasis on helping people of color become entrepreneurs in the weed industry. In addition, adults would be allowed to grow up to five plants per household, in a locked room out of public view, with the permission of the landowner.
Municipalities could ban retail stores within their boundaries within the first year of the program. After that, any ban would have to come through a voter referendum.
According to a summary from Pritzker’s office, permit fees would be $100,000 for growers and $30,000 for retailers, with lower fees for applicants from minority areas disproportionately affected by convictions in the war on drugs. There would also be a business development fee of 5 percent of total sales or $500,000, whichever is less, for cultivators, and up to $200,000 for dispensaries, with lower fees for “social equity applicants.”
The state’s current medical marijuana program would remain the same, lawmakers said, and dispensaries would be required to make sure enough supply is set aside for medical use.
A couple of barely-known groups oppose the bill, but the governor expects swift passage through the legislature and a quick signature.
I'm in favor, even though I don't smoke.
Yesterday, Microsoft made an error making a nameserver delegation chage (where they switch computers for their internal address book), causing large swaths of Azure to lose track of itself:
Summary of impact: Between 19:43 and 22:35 UTC on 02 May 2019, customers may have experienced intermittent connectivity issues with Azure and other Microsoft services (including M365, Dynamics, DevOps, etc). Most services were recovered by 21:30 UTC with the remaining recovered by 22:35 UTC.
Preliminary root cause: Engineers identified the underlying root cause as a nameserver delegation change affecting DNS resolution and resulting in downstream impact to Compute, Storage, App Service, AAD, and SQL Database services. During the migration of a legacy DNS system to Azure DNS, some domains for Microsoft services were incorrectly updated. No customer DNS records were impacted during this incident, and the availability of Azure DNS remained at 100% throughout the incident. The problem impacted only records for Microsoft services.
Mitigation: To mitigate, engineers corrected the nameserver delegation issue. Applications and services that accessed the incorrectly configured domains may have cached the incorrect information, leading to a longer restoration time until their cached information expired.
Next steps: Engineers will continue to investigate to establish the full root cause and prevent future occurrences. A detailed RCA will be provided within approximately 72 hours.
If you tried to get to the Daily Parker yesterday afternoon Chicago time, you might have gotten nothing, or gotten the whole blog. All I know is I spent half an hour tracking it down from my end before Microsoft copped to the problem.
That's not a criticism of Microsoft. In fact, they're a lot more transparent about problems like this than most other organizations. And having spent a lot of time trying to figure out why something has broken, half an hour doesn't seem like a lot of time.
So, bad for Microsoft that they tanked their entire universe with a misconfigured DNS server. Good for them that they fixed it completely in just over an hour.
A farmer in Scotland tweaks American tourists:
A cheeky farmer is winding up American tourists by spray-painting her sheep tartan – and claiming it’s caused by the animals drinking popular Scottish soft drink, Irn-Bru.
Owner Maxine Scott, 62, used her skills with a spray-can to brighten up ewes April and Daisy.
Scott puts up a sign pretending that the sheep turn bright orange naturally and that their fleeces are then used to make tartan wool for kilts and blankets.
The sheep live on Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre, Comrie, Perthshire, and are decorated using marker spray, used by farmers to identify sheep during lamb numbering.
I wonder what clan they're in?
Agency Negotiating Committee Co-Chair Chris Keyser explains in s 15-minute video.
(The WGA doesn't allow embedding; apologies.)
Many are at risk of demolition:
“A troubling trend with this year’s most endangered sites is the number of historic places that face demolition despite strong and active community support for preservation,” Bonnie McDonald, the group’s president, said in a news release.
No one should be surprised that the James R. Thompson Center made this list for a third straight year, especially because pressure on the building is ratcheting up. Gov. J.B. Pritzker just cleared the way for Illinois to sell the Helmut Jahn-designed state office building in downtown Chicago.
But lesser-known sites are also on the list of 12. In the Chicago area, new listings include a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed cottage in north suburban Glencoe; a Tudor Revival estate, also in Glencoe and once owned by a vacuum cleaner magnate; and a neoclassical bank building a mile west of the planned Obama Presidential Center.
I'm not actually a fan of the Thompson Center, but I'd hate to see it go unless something manifestly better replaced it.