The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

He quit rather than honor Helms

Via Talking Points Memo, North Carolina Agriculture Dept. employee L.F. Eason III retired rather than lower the flags at his state lab to honor the passing of Sen. Jesse Helms:

Eason, a 29-year veteran of the state Department of Agriculture, instructed his staff at a small Raleigh lab not to fly the U.S. or North Carolina flags at half-staff Monday, as called for in a directive to all state agencies by Gov. Mike Easley.

When a superior ordered the lab to follow the directive, Eason decided to retire rather than pay tribute to Helms. After several hours' delay, one of Eason's employees hung the flags at half-staff.

Nice. I approve.

High hopes for tomorrow's game

As of this morning, the Cleveland Indians (my next stop on the 30-park geas ) have dropped their last 9, putting them two games out of next-to-last place in the American League Central. In fairness, four teams (Seattle, Washington, Colorado, and San Diego) are doing worse. Right now, though, the tension mounts: will they drop their 10th today? Will I see them win tomorrow?

Stay tuned.

Oh, right, forgot: the Cubs are still in first place, as they've been since April, and are the second-best in all of baseball right now, after the Red Sox. What a World Series that will be, eh?

Long-term, this is good

I have to go through O'Hare four times in the next three weeks, so this will affect me:

Summer air travelers who use the Blue Line to get to and from O'Hare International Airport will face an inconvenience for most of July.

Beginning Tuesday, Blue Line trains will go no farther than the Rosemont stop, the last one before the airport, because of work on the tracks.

A 24-hour shuttle bus will begin running between the Rosemont station and O'Hare at 3 a.m. Tuesday. Normal train service is scheduled to resume July 28.

Still, having experienced a 90-minute trip from downtown to the airport, I'm glad the CTA is fixing the Blue Line.

Rumble rumble rumble. Mutiny mutiny mutiny.

I stopped to check email just now and found two odd things. I have the USGS earthquake feed on RSS. The USGS has deleted a number of 4.0+ magnitude earthquake reports tonight; it looks like fireworks are setting off the seismographs. But while I was laughing at that, I noticed a very real 7.6-magnitude earthquake near Kamchatka which, fortunately, does not appear to have caused a tsunami.

A 7.6 is a big deal. The earthquake that levelled San Francisco in 1906 was about an 7.8. No one appears to have been hurt today, which is fortunate.

Strategy v. Tactics

I try not to be part of the blogosphere echo-chamber, but I think it's important people get what Josh Marshall is saying here:

There's nothing odd or contradictory about Obama saying that he'll change the policy to one of withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq with a specific timetable but that he will consult with his military advisors about how best to execute that policy.

The simple truth is that this campaign offers a very clear cut choice on Iraq. One candidate believes that the US occupation of Iraq is the solution; the other thinks it's the problem. John McCain supports the permanent deployment of US troops in Iraq. That is why his hundred years remark isn't some gotcha line. It's a clear statement of his policy. Obama supports a deliberate and orderly withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. It's a completely different view of America's role in the world and future in the Middle East.

Is that a dromedary or are you happy to see me?

Via Bruce Schneier:

Giraffe helps camels, zebras escape from circus

Amsterdam police say 15 camels, two zebras and an undetermined number of llamas and potbellied swine briefly escaped from a traveling Dutch circus after a giraffe kicked a hole in their cage.

Police spokesman Arnout Aben says the animals wandered in a group through a nearby neighborhood for several hours after their 5:30 a.m. breakout.

The animals were back at the circus later Monday after being rounded up by police and circus workers with the assistance of dogs. Aben says neighbors fed some of the animals — which he said was a bad idea — but they were tame and nobody was hurt.

Says Aben: "You have to imagine somebody rubbing his eyes first thing in the morning and saying, 'Am I seeing things or is that 15 camels walking past?'"

This was an afterthought in his main post, which was about random stupidity in terrorism.