Saturday, April 14, 2007

False start

Mark Twain once said “The cat, having sat upon a hot stove lid, will not sit upon a hot stove lid again. But he won't sit upon a cold stove lid, either.”

And those cats up in Cheektowaga, NY will remember their failed solar street lights for a long time.

I don't know the technical particulars of this installation, but I would have had plenty of questions about it. But maybe snow didn't collect on the solar collectors. Maybe the battery capacities were appropriate and weren't impaired by the low temperatures you can expect near Buffalo, NY. Maybe the insolation levels were appropriate on average and they just had a 100 year event. Maybe the locations chosen were far enough from power supplies that it made sense for each pole to have its own independent solar power supply with no backup.

If they just had to make some sort of EC (environmentally correct) gesture, why not pick something that would be less spectacularly obvious if it failed?

I bet it'll be a long time before they'll try something like this again. All because some people won't wait for technologies to mature.

From Ecotality, featuring Bill Hobbs.

Free pot for everyone!

No, not yet. Just a proposal for a Cabinet level "Department of Peace". Won't someone get a butterfly net and take Kucinich and his cosponsors away?

It's been referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Let's hope that they overlook it.

From The Corner and Tigerhawk.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Justice at last?

You've heard of David Duke, right? The ex-con who used to run the Ku Klux Klan? Not only that, he's a Holocaust denier, and if that's enough for you, he's a Southerner and a Democrat turned *REPUBLICAN*!

Anyway, did you know that Duke University was named after him?


That's good, because it isn't true. The school existed long before David Duke was born, and was renamed for a major donor who got his money from tobacco. There, *that's* better. What would be better yet would be if the donor's name had been Lynch.

It's also not true that all the Duke staff members who were so quick to condemn the lacrosse players at Duke are in fact acting out of guilt for their own histories of raping black women. I can't prove it, but surely *some* of them are innocent.

(They may have been quick to condemn, but they have their limits. The lacrosse players might have been called rapists, but at least no one called them anything like "nappy-headed hos". Now *that* would be offensive.)

Even so, I'll bet that *this* is true - someone who donated money to Duke has also given money to the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth". Eww, talk about an indelible stain.

No, we must make sure that any such allegations are nipped in the bud before they become immortal on Google.

Hey, maybe we need a new verb: to duke. Meaning something like "to condemn without justification and then not to apologize afterwards". Or maybe we could start saying "Dukism" instead of "McCarthyism".

IMO until Duke University management and faculty Imus themselves before the lacrosse team men for piling on after the vicious slanders by Crystal Gail Mangum, they deserve as much disgrace as we can heap on them. And they can start by running about 88 people out of town.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Calling a spade a spade

I don't listen to Don Imus and I don't know his history. And you won't ever win any charm or class points by referring to a bunch of young women as "nappy-headed hos". But where are all the free speech people about now that Imus is under attack?

Yeah, everybody knows you'd better not say, um, well, you know, the *N-WORD*! For crying out loud, you can't even say a perfectly innocent word like "niggardly" nowadays.

Whatever the virtues of such extralegal prohibition, at least the news has gotten around. It would be nice if the same rules applied to alleged "hip hop artists", who ought to be credited for spreading the word to a bunch of white suburban kids who otherwise wouldn't hear it at home, and they repeat what they hear.

What's is it about "nappy-headed hos" that earns so much time in the media? It isn't exactly race specific - blacks (can I say that?) aren't the only ones with kinky hair. It's gender-specific, but it's not the feminists who are fussing, and what credibility do they have after years of sucking up to Democrats anyway?

No, this is about publicity for opportunists like Al Sharpton. Yes, the "reverend" who has yet to apologize for his role in the Tawana Brawley affair.

Am I being obtuse in suggesting that this is overblown? Whatever the answer, IMO if we're must raise such a fuss over certain words, how about identifying them once and for all?

I suppose we can make some pretty good guesses. I hadn't even heard "pickaninny" when someone was busted for using and defending it. Other candidates would be "Jungle bunny" or "jigaboo", which in my experience are so uncommon that you can't expect younger people to know them. I suppose references to watermelons, spear-chuckin', fried chicken and chitlins will have to go too.

But it's no use, because this isn't about grievances, this is about kowtowing. The ladies of the Rutgers basketball team have a grievance. The rest of the world should butt out.

Incidentally, congratulations to the Rutgers ladies' basketball team for a fine season. It's heartbreaking to work so hard and then finish second.

But nothing that happens to Don Imus will bring that title to New Jersey.

Postscript: the Rutgers ladies just appeared on the tube. (I can't resist noting that the black girls I saw had straightened their hair - now we know the *real* reason why they're ticked...)

Anyway, those quoted on TV spoke up more about the "ho" part. One, when asked about the popularization of "ho" in hip-hop, said it was no different and also ought to be discouraged. Good for her.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

My kind of tonw

There's nothing like solidarity, but how far do you go?

It happened in Chicago. Someone came in for a tattoo that in part read "Chi-town". What he got instead said "Chi-tonw". He's suing the tattoo artist.

But the tattoo artist has friends. How do you know? They're all getting the same tattoo, including the "Chi-tonw".

It turns out that the plaintiff approved the tattoo before it was applied. Unfortunately, it appears that he did it with a mirror. Whoops.

Anyway, I hope he loses. But then he'll probably be back to sue the friends for using his design without his permission.

Monday, April 09, 2007

DWTS year 4, week 4

The fourth season of "Dancing with the Stars" is well underway with the biggest bunch of "stars" ever. Unfortunately more people doesn't mean more total talent. The best clue is that a woman with one leg (Heather Mills) is one of the more successful competitors.

The judges aren't happy, and before anyone had danced one of the judges, Len Goodman, reamed all the survivors for slacking. He claimed that the celebs had been putting in only 13 hours of practice on average between shows vs. 19 in past comps, and the scores on average seem to be lower. The feedback was what I'll call "frank"

The one who really got reamed was Clyde Drexler. He'll always have problems because of his 6' 7" height, but the judges actually suggested that he wasn't putting in enough effort. Clyde didn't take that lying down and offered to meet one of the judges outside. He was kidding, I hope. But the judges are right - he basically just followed his partner around the floor on flat feet, and but for the time of the music it was hard to tell he was doing a paso doble instead of a waltz.

Billy Ray Cyrus is coming along but has a long way to go. One clip showed his partner entering the ladies room and then we heard sobbing. The best thing he has going for him is his humility. IMO the judges have been generous to him and Heather Mills if only for their effort.

That's not to say that Heather Mills isn't doing as well as can be expected and more besides. You can't exactly fault her for, say, not pointing her prosthetic left foot when her entire lower leg is a prosthetic, and DWTS certainly isn't a formal dance competition, but at some point we deteriorate from supportiveness to political correctness. She should still be on the show, but not until the last month.

John Ratzenberger wasn't much better than Drexler. But that probably won't be enough to send him out the door with Paulina Porizkova and Shandi Finnessey, because the men either don't vote or, more likely, they don't even watch.

That's bad news for Leeza Gibbons and her partner, the best male pro out there, Tony Dovolani. You wouldn't guess that Ms. Gibbons is 50, but then at times you might not guess she's a dancer either. That's harsh, but she didn't have a good night. My bet is that she's gone after tomorrow.

The young guys are doing OK. So far it looks like Joey Fatone (with Kym Johnson), Apolo Anton Ohno (with Julianne Hough), and Ian Ziering (with two-time winner Cheryl Burke) will be the last to go. Of the women, Laila Ali (with Maksim Chmerkovskiy) will be around for a while too.

In all fairness, we were told from the beginning that this bunch started training later than their predecessors, so expectations had to be lower. Like with most beginners with no dance experience (myself included, in spades), they're very stiff, and that doesn't make for good routines.

But it still makes for a good show altogether. If you've never seen it, give it a try.

Meet Julianne Hough

Yeah, you wish. Julianne Hough isn't mere eye candy from head to toe, she's also an incredibly gifted ballroom dancer who's only 18 years old. You can see her on a video on her website here or you can watch "Dancing with the Stars".

But if you miss her, stay tuned. She wants to be an actress, and if she works as hard as she must have to achieve what she has at her age, you'll be seeing a lot more of her.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hiss story

Adolf Hitler has some kin in the US. Not surprisingly, they don't use the Hitler name. But we could yet see the day that they not only embrace it but stand up in public claiming he was framed.

Why not? The Hiss family hasn't given up on convicted Cold War spy Alger Hiss yet. And I wouldn't be surprised if relatives of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were still politicking too. Anyway, Powerline has much more on Hiss here.

Hiss was busted thanks to the late Whittaker Chambers, who earlier had spied for the Russians himself. But he broke with the Evil Empire after seeing it in action enough times, documenting his journey in his bestselling book "Witness". It's still worth a read over half a century after publication.

(Now Thomas Sowell has written another book, which in part documents his recovery from leftism. Mona Charen writes of it here.)

Yes, I'll kowtow to Godwin's law and acknowledge the obvious - Hiss was no Hitler. Or perhaps more appropriately, he was no Stalin. But he and his ilk were enablers, without whom such beasts could not attain power. And with tens of millions of deaths attributable to Communism, there's plenty of guilt to go around.