The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog


There have been interesting developments in two stories I've mentioned recently:

Otherwise, it's just work work work. But fun work.

Sent to Kindle

I may have time to read these over the weekend. Possibly.

In other news, J's Lincoln Park will close Sunday night, the owner having sold his lease to Bank of America. So our dog-friendly Euchre nights will have to move uptown a bit. I'm happy for the owner, but kind of sad that one of the last dog-friendly bars in my neighborhood is closing.

Back to creating a separate code repository for contractors...and other things...

Sullivan hanging it up

Andrew Sullivan, one of my favorite bloggers, announced this afternoon he's moving on from blogging:

Why? Two reasons. The first is one I hope anyone can understand: although it has been the most rewarding experience in my writing career, I’ve now been blogging daily for fifteen years straight (well kinda straight). That’s long enough to do any single job. In some ways, it’s as simple as that. There comes a time when you have to move on to new things, shake your world up, or recognize before you crash that burn-out does happen.

The second is that I am saturated in digital life and I want to return to the actual world again. I’m a human being before I am a writer; and a writer before I am a blogger, and although it’s been a joy and a privilege to have helped pioneer a genuinely new form of writing, I yearn for other, older forms. I want to read again, slowly, carefully. I want to absorb a difficult book and walk around in my own thoughts with it for a while. I want to have an idea and let it slowly take shape, rather than be instantly blogged. I want to write long essays that can answer more deeply and subtly the many questions that the Dish years have presented to me. I want to write a book.

It's not clear yet what will happen to the Daily Dish, or to his staffers. I hope that he'll keep the enterprise running.

Daily Parker readers have no such luck: I'm sticking with it for now.

Seriously, guys? Were you bored?

I have Republican friends who think Obamacare is one step along the road to living in a police state where Ayn-Randian fears of 40% taxation and free education squash private enterprise. They have been strangely quiet about events like this, which involve actual police using previously-unthinkable force in peaceful situations:

On a quiet weeknight among the stately manors of Great Falls[, Virginia], ten men sat around a table in the basement of a private home last November playing high stakes poker. Suddenly, masked and heavily armed SWAT team officers from the Fairfax County Police Department burst through the door, pointed their assault rifles at the players and ordered them to put their hands on the table. The players complied. Their cash was seized, including a reported $150,000 from the game’s host, and eight of the ten players were charged with the Class 3 misdemeanor of illegal gambling, punishable by a maximum fine of $500.

Fairfax police said they could not discuss the Great Falls case since it is still under investigation. “In general though,” police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said, “detectives have seen that some of the organized card games, even in private homes, may involve hundreds of thousands of dollars. At times, we’ve seen illegal activity involved in these games. Additionally, at times, illegal weapons are present. With these large amounts of cash involved, the risks are high. We’ve worked cases where there have been armed robberies.”

Great Falls is like Winnetka, Illinois or Glen Cove, N.Y.: not exactly wretched hives of scum and villainy. So, why? (For possible answers, read Radley Balko.)

I love this bit, though:

There were no guns at the table, and no resistance, [one] player said. “They could’ve sent a retired detective with a clipboard and gotten the same result,” he added.

Yeah. But they sent in paramilitary troops armed like Marines. To a card game.

Yes, Republicans, there are signs America is becoming a police state, but you might be looking at it wrong.

Finally looking brighter

January is long, cold, and dark in Chicago. We've got no more holidays, we've got much more snow, and we hardly see the sun.

So January 28th always makes me a little happy, because it's (usually) the first day in almost four months that the sun sets after 5pm. (The last time was November 1st.) It marks the log-jam of dark and cold nights breaking up. Sunset will slide to 5:30 in only three weeks and, thanks to Daylight Saving Time, blast almost to 7pm two weeks after that.

Of course, it's still another week and a half until the sun rises before 7am...

Splash landing, no one hurt

Via Fallows, video of a small plane ditching in the South Pacific with no injuries:

Fallows explains:

On yesterday's flight, the pilot discovered that a valve from the extra fuel tanks was jammed or broken. So he was fated to run out of gas before reaching Hawaii. After several hours of debugging and discussion with his flight-managers by radio, as the fuel level dwindled he decided to fly as close as possible to a cruise ship (which was alerted) and then pull the Cirrus's unique whole-airplane parachute and come down to the sea for rescue by the ship.

This incredible video, shot from a Coast Guard C-130 that was monitoring the whole process, shows what happened next.

The plane, I expect, did not survive. But the pilot did, which would not have happened even 20 years ago in similar circumstances.

Worst blizzard ever?

The Northeastern U.S. is bracing for what the National Weather Service calls "a storm of historic proportions:"

Snow accumulations of around 500-750 mm with locally higher amounts [are forecast]. Snowfall rates of 50-100 mm an hour at times.

A blizzard warning is issued when sustained winds or frequent gusts over 56 km/h are expected with considerable falling and/or blowing and drifting snow. Visibilities will become poor with whiteout conditions at times. those venturing outdoors may become lost or persons in the warning area are advised to stay indoors.

All unnecessary travel is discouraged beginning Monday afternoon to allow people already on the road to safely reach their destination before the heavy snow begins and to allow snow removal equipment to begin to clear roads.

The worst snowfall on record in the Northeast dumped 683 mm of snow on Central Park over 11-12 February 2006. This one could be bigger.

Hang in there, New York and Boston. And just remember the immortal words of Michael Bilandic: "Snow melts."

Update: The governors of New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey have ordered precautionary measures including closing state offices and ordering all cars off the roads tonight. All flights at Boston Logan are cancelled starting 7pm EST tonight; New York airports are also shut Tuesday. The New England Patriots have skipped town early to get to the Superbowl on time. And residents of Maine are...well, they're not doing anything special, because it's just snow.


Duke Basketball coach Mike "Coach K" Krzyzweski won his 1,000th Division 1 game yesterday:

Mike Krzyzewski earned his 1,000th career win Sunday, making him the first NCAA Division I men's coach to reach the milestone, when No. 5 Duke surged past St. John's in the second half for a 77-68 victory at Madison Square Garden.

When the final horn sounded, Blue Devils players engulfed Krzyzewski and he received a bear hug from assistant Jeff Capel. Photographers swarmed the coach on the court, and players were given T-shirts that read "1,000 Wins And Kounting."

Today is also the 29th anniversary of the only time the Chicago Bears won the Superbowl.

American's latest plane

In other news, American Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing 787-8 yesterday:

The airplane, N800AN, is scheduled to leave Paine Field at 10 a.m. and arrive at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport at 4:21 p.m.. It’ll be parked at an American hangar there.

“Once the plane arrives, the Tech Ops team at our DWH maintenance base at DFW will begin the acceptance process and prepare the airplane for flight training and other readiness activities, including putting the final touches on the interior and getting it ready for prime time,” American told employees in its weekly “Arrivals” newsletter.

American has 42 Boeing 787s on firm order, with options for another 58. The original October 2008 order called for all 42 to be the larger Boeing 787-9 version. However, the order was later modified to covert some into the smaller 787-8 version, and Friday’s arrival is a 787-8.

I am very much looking forward to flying in one. I flew in a British Airways 787-8 back in March; I hope that American packs in slightly fewer people in Coach, or that I get upgraded.