The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

The Grey Lady sings our praises

Despite my joking about the inconveniences an Obama Presidency will bring to us in Chicago, we really are ecstatic that our guy won. It's so good, even the New York Times has acknowledged it:

In 1952, when an article in The New Yorker derisively referred to Chicago as the Second City, little offense was taken. It became a marketing pitch, with the thinking that second fiddle was far better than no fiddle at all.

But that gawking, out-of-town amazement — gee, there really is a city here! — has long outlived its currency. Well before Mr. Obama was elected as the nation’s 44th president — a fact that was proudly amplified by Mayor Richard M. Daley, who ordered up banners with a sketch of the president-elect to hang throughout the city — Chicago was experiencing one of its most blossoming periods in food, fashion and the arts.

Now, people around the country and the world are simply noticing.

And we're glad the world did.

Mukasey collapses

It seem as if Attorney General Michael Mukasey may have had a stroke during a speech this evening:

The 67-year-old Mukasey was rushed to George Washington University Hospital, where his condition was not immediately known.

Mukasey was delivering a speech to the Federalist Society at a Washington hotel when "he just started shaking and he collapsed," said Associate Attorney General Kevin O'Connor. "They're very concerned."

Mukasey was 15 to 20 minutes into his speech about the Bush administration's successes in combatting terrorism when he began slurring his words. He collapsed and lost consciousness, said O'Conner, the department's No. 3 official.

I hope it isn't as serious as it sounds.

Late update: Fortunately, it wasn't.

In Durham overnight

I must say, the new terminal at RDU looks great. I hardly believed I was in North Carolina. And the last time I was here, it was a red state. Now it's blue. Tempus fugit.

Actually, I'm kind of sad I'm not staying longer. My host couldn't stay tonight (the S.O. is unewell) so I'm on my own until a 9:00 meeting tomorrow morning, about which more later, and after which I'm back on a plane to do work related to the trip for, like, ten days. Everything from this trip is due on December 1st.

I could like Durham for a while, I think. But I won't leave Chicago until the revolution comes, absent a tremendous bribe.

Sorry I'm being cryptic. When things settle down, I'll fill in the details.

Paean to Lolcats

Salon has a sublime ode to the "I can haz cheezburger" crowd:

By now, even the most casual observers of the Internet are aware that lolcats have become a certifiable Internet phenomenon. Their flagship site,, is one of Web 2.0's big success stories -- on track to top a billion page views this year -- and its content is entirely user-generated. Readers upload over 5,000 homegrown submissions every day, of which six or eight are posted on the site. And in October, the lolcats got their very own coffee table book, "I Can Has Cheezburger," published by Gotham Books.

What makes lolcats different from the cat porn of the past -- the motivational posters of the '70s and '80s featuring furry kittens hanging from tree limbs, covered in toilet paper or in some other kind of adorable predicament -- is that lolcats aren't trying to be cute. In the cat-based imagery of ages past, cats retain their iconic traits: curiosity, skittishness, the tendency to curl up in a ball and just lie there. Even the YouTube cats of today perform characteristically catlike actions, repeatedly flushing toilets, dragging their paws along piano keys or getting flung off the ends of treadmills.

Lolcats are different in that the characters they portray -- and yes, they are portraying characters -- don't represent cats at all. They're a completely different kind of beast, mischievous (if incompetent) rascals, scheming for cheeseburgers and stopping at nothing to get them.

Take the lolcat that started it all, created by a Hawaiian blogger named Eric Nakagawa, who posted it in January 2007. The image features a cat with a crazed look of pure animal hunger, its eyes maniacal with desire, asking, "I can has cheezburger?" Underneath is the comment: "The Internet's piece de resistance, the website's raison d'etre."

This ur-lolcat created such a sensation that Nakagawa turned it into a blog, spawning not only the eponymous Web site but also a whole mythology. The cheezburger has become the Philosopher's Stone of the lolcats mythos -- the most prized, cherished and elusive object in their universe. It is for this reason that, when a tiny kitten being sniffed by a Great Dane 20 times its size needs a quick escape, it says, "I iz not cheezburger, kthxbai." It is for this reason that when a user finds a photo of a cat sitting by the window with its paws in its lap, the caption reads, "I iz waitin for cheezburger man. Does you have a money?"

The Web is now spawning a wave of next-generation lolcats sites that take the lolcats concept and run with it. There's lolpresident, loldogs, and even lolhan, a site devoted to Lindsay Lohan that includes such classics as "I layded you an egg but I'z hidin it."

On that note, I turn in to see y'all in the morning.

And then there were two

MSNBC reports that convicted felon and Alaska Republican Ted Stevens has lost his Senate seat to never-indicted Mark Begich:

Stevens' ouster on his 85th birthday marks an abrupt realignment in Alaska politics and will alter the power structure in the Senate, where he has served since the days of the Johnson administration while holding seats on some of the most influential committees in Congress.

Tuesday's tally of just over 24,000 absentee and other ballots gave Begich 146,286, or 47.56 percent, to 143,912, or 46.76 percent, for Stevens.

This brings the Democratic majority to 57, or 58 if you include Bernie Sanders who, I think, voted with us about 102% of the time in the last Congress. (Should we count Maine Republican Susan Collins as well and call it 59? And how about that Franken-Coleman battle in Minnesota? Hmmm....)

The other of "there were two" is the contest in Georgia, which we'll find out about in two weeks.

In unrelated news, Talking Points Memo reported today that Senate Democrats expelled Joe Lieberman (R-CT) from their pilates class. Yuk yuk yuk.

Missed my own anniversary!

Last Thursday, The Daily Parker turned three.

Actually, yesterday, the dog turned 2 years, 5 months; but the blog is three years old.

And in honor of this august day in November, I hit "Post" three times before correcting all the typos.

Memo to party: We won, you fools

Kos reports the Democrats in the Senate have some trouble understanding that Lieberman isn't one of us:

When Senate Democrats meet Tuesday to decide Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-Conn.) fate, leaders are expected to propose that he keep his gavel at the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee but lose his Environment and Public Works subcommittee chairmanship.

Senate Democratic sources cautioned that the proposal is intended to serve as a starting point for the discussion over whether Lieberman should be punished for his aggressive criticism of President-elect Barack Obama’s candidacy, as well as his endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Says Kos: "If this is the 'starting point,' and given the Senate Democrats' history of capitulations, expect Lieberman to come out of that meeting as majority leader."

Says I: he might be an improvement over the current one, if the report is accurate.