From the Dead White Guys file

For some reason, I find this report to be highly disturbing:

When I quoted Ben Franklin’s “He who would sacrifice freedom for security deserves neither” adage on a friend’s FB page, a friend of hers responded with “Ben Franklin is irrelevant because he lived before the Great Depression.” Nice.

In which case, surely we can knock it off about the Peculiar Institution that was, or was not, the cause of the Civil War Between the States for Southern Independence, which also happened rather a long time before the Great Depression.

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Justice little as possible

The very word “justice,” says Tony Woodlief, has jumped the shark:

We already have economic justice, social justice, global justice, environmental justice, climate justice, housing justice, transportation justice, even — no kidding — judicial justice … the game seems to be that when you want to force other people to adjust their lives to better suit your preferences, you slap the word “justice” on the end of your slogan and it’s transformed into a golden ticket on the rail car running straight to the tippy top of Moral Mountain.

Most of these ostensible justices are invoked in the name of “fairness,” which gives me an excuse to trot out once more this observation from Marcus Cole:

You know, I used to think that it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them? So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.

Cole, it must be said, was an incurable romantic, which just goes to show you.

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Drama right here in iTunes

Another one of those odd juxtapositions that occasionally turn up on my sort-of-randomized playlist:

Screen shot from iTunes

Somewhere out there, one assumes, is the female equivalent of Cee Lo Green.

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Fake but effusive

This “comment” landed in the spam trap, probably for a high Insincerity Score:

Man, talk about a fantastic post! I?ve stumbled across your blog a few times within the past, but I usually forgot to bookmark it. But not again! Thanks for posting the way you do, I genuinely appreciate seeing someone who actually has a viewpoint and isn?t really just bringing back up crap like nearly all other writers today. Keep it up!

Question marks in place of apostrophes don’t delight me either. And I’m being sincere when I say so.

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All it needs is a hand crank

The Nissan Leaf is an electric vehicle; it has no pistons, no cylinders, no valves.

It does, however, have a valve cover:

Under the hood of the Nissan Leaf

David Vespremi sees a cultural precedent for this sort of atavistic throwback:

When the television was introduced, and for literally decades afterwards, it was not uncommon for them to be housed in wooden cabinets or, in later, years, to come with faux wood finishes. The thinking was, the TV was something new and alien. So, to integrate it with our lives and, indeed, the fabric of our society, it needed first and foremost to integrate with our living rooms. Ergo, the TV became a piece of wooden furniture.

So the Leaf, inevitably, is a bit closer to Studebaker than to Star Trek. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. If this is the powerplant of the future, it seems like it ought to look futuristic, but I hate it every time I pop the hood of a car and nothing looks familiar. So maybe this is Nissan’s sop to saps like me.

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Judging by the title of the 398th Carnival of the Vanities, Andrew Ian Dodge is “back from DC.”

I’m pretty sure he had to travel more than 398 miles to get home, though within that distance you can find nifty spots like Oak Island, North Carolina. (From my house, 398 miles will land me in the parking lot at Waterloo Records.)

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Pedal closer to the metal?

Google’s been playing around with the Apache Web server, and they’ve announced a new module:

[W]e’re introducing a module for the Apache HTTP Server called mod_pagespeed to perform many speed optimizations automatically. We’re starting with more than 15 on-the-fly optimizations that address various aspects of web performance, including optimizing caching, minimizing client-server round trips and minimizing payload size. We’ve seen mod_pagespeed reduce page load times by up to 50% (an average across a rough sample of sites we tried) — in other words, essentially speeding up websites by about 2x, and sometimes even faster.

Well, we’ll just see about that. I actually installed it last night, and about half the time it sped up the load time considerably, and the rest of the time it refused to load at all. I’m still testing on some smaller sites, but I’ve pulled it from here for now.

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Handed to him on a paper platter

The next Oklahoma House of Representatives will have 70 Republicans and 31 Democrats. If this sounds like a rout to you, you ain’t heard nothing yet:

[Rusty] Farley ran for this seat in 2008, and lost to Democrat Dennis Bailey 56.7%-43.3%. House District 1 contains (and only contains) McCurtain County in far southeastern Oklahoma. A whopping 11.8% of voters are registered Republicans, and 5.2% are Independents. This time, Farley received 50.83% of the vote against Bailey.

Did I mention that Bailey spent over $20,000 on his reelection bid, while Farley spent … $100? Yes, Farley spent $100 and won the race.

In Little Dixie, yet, where “Republican” used to be a dirty word on the level of “grit-eating, scum-sucking, pencil-neck geek.”

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Quote of the week

Ladd Ehlinger, Jr., seeking an explanation for California’s continuing sojourn in the wilderness, decides that it’s not entirely a partisan problem:

The national GOP should spend a little more time thinking about the philosophy, and a little less time being impressed by the wallets of, potential candidates they will throw their weight behind. Quick thoughts on Carly Fiorina. Her company HP sold technology to Iran and outsourced high-tech jobs to China. Her best buddy in Congress is the uber-rich Democrat Jane Harman, whose company Harman Industries also sold technology to Iran and outsourced jobs to China. With friends like that…

Carly Fiorina was not a Republican, any more than Jane Harman is a Democrat. They are instead members of the Shakespeare Theater Donation Big-Wigs in Washington D.C. They run for Congress like the Jersey Housewives show off their cleavage on t.v.

They need something to do.

This explains much about Meg Whitman’s bidding war for the governorship.

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A whole lot of thorns

You may remember this from the Clippers game 24 hours ago:

The occasionally-erratic Fail Blazers aren’t about to lose to this bunch tomorrow night, especially at the Rose Garden.

Well, the Thunder weren’t quite as inept as they were against the Clips, and in fact turned downright competent in the final frame, but the Blazers were a long way from being erratic, and after several minutes on the teeter-totter, regulation time finished at a 100-100 tie.

And in overtime, things got ferocious. Four minutes through, it was only 103-100 OKC; with six seconds left, Russell Westbrook dropped in two free throws to put the Thunder up, 107-103; Armon Johnson made a trey at the buzzer to make it 107-106.

Is this the turning point for Oklahoma City? Who knows? But here’s the line: Kevin Durant, 28 points, 11 rebounds; Russell Westbrook, 28 points, 11 rebounds. And we’re still seeing the Good Jeff Green (19 points).

And now, back home to the Unsponsored Arena for a four-game homestand, and I won’t have to stay up so darn late for a while.

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Sir, you dropped your mask (2)

Tam sat through the President’s post-election prattling, and filed this report:

At best I fear yesterday’s election was a band-aid on a sucking chest wound, and at worst they’ll go right back to getting all knotted up in rearranging the “family values” and “law’n’order” deck chairs while the USS Dollar continues to slip beneath the waves… But while I was eating lunch I watched the Brat Prince keep trying to strike his favorite chin-uplifted Mussolini pose, with its haughty “Who farted?” moue of confident disdain, but it wouldn’t stick, and his facial expression kept drifting back to one that looked like a man chewing on a cat turd.

I suspect they’re required to keep John Kerry — who, by the way, served in Vietnam — at a safe distance from him, lest there develop a singularity of self-absorption so powerful it might actually disrupt a taping of Oprah, half a continent away.

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Sir, you dropped your mask (1)

I have often been perplexed by the world’s Climate Worriers, mostly because I never could figure out just what was behind their insistence that every single weather event, blazing hot or freezing cold, was a manifestation of exactly the same alleged phenomenon.

Then Roberta X got her gas bill, and now the game’s been given away.

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Hanna-Barbera shot first

Daphne BlakeSo this five-year-old boy wanted to go out on Halloween as Daphne from Scooby-Doo, and parts of hell — not “all hell,” fortunately — broke loose. “Inappropriate!” clucked various Moms. (For some reason, the local Dads weren’t heard from, or at least weren’t quoted.)

I find myself falling into the Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That camp, for the following reasons, and perhaps some others:

  • He’s already once portrayed the Scoobster, which suggests he’s well-versed (for a five-year-old, anyway) in the series canon.
  • Not everyone can aspire to Velmahood.
  • What’ll you bet he has his very own Mystery Machine?
  • If some girl dressed up as Shaggy or (God forbid) Fred, nobody would have said a word.

Besides, as his mom notes, the kid rocks that costume, especially the wig.

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It’s all just mastication

There’s a vague but palpable sense of exhilaration after you’ve completed your ballot, and apparently this is why:

People spend a lot of money to get elected to public office. They buy ads, they buy signs, they pay campaign staffs, and so on. And yet, for free, you and I get to tell more than half of them, “Bite me.”

You can’t get much more American than that.


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Once in a while, someone wanders in here looking for shots of former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and hey, who am I to turn him away?

Condi Rice on the Late Late Show

This was scissored out of a screenshot from Dr. Rice’s appearance on The Late Late Show last month; Craig Ferguson, obligingly, has uploaded the video. (Two parts, approximately 16 minutes.)

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Here on the dumb grid

Few things are quite as disconcerting as a letter from a utility company that arrives the day after payment is due; I invariably go into “Did I forget to pay them?” mode, even though I don’t think I’ve ever been late on this one and they sent me back my deposit half a decade ago.

But no, this isn’t an accounting matter. Yet. OG&E wants me to know that my current electric meter is too stupid to live:

For the next few months, OG&E employees and contracted personnel will be crisscrossing the community to install smart meters on virtually every one of our customer’s homes and businesses, including yours.

I wonder who that one customer with all the homes and businesses might be.

This is the first step toward the so-called “smart grid,” which for right now will support modest enhancements like remote connection/disconnection and meter reading, but which somewhere down the line, I assume, will be used to make sure I’m paying as much as possible for running the A/C on an August afternoon when it’s actually needed, and not so much on an April morning when it’s not.

OG&E says this will enable them to “delay the building of a new power plant until at least 2020.” Whether this affects the plan to quadruple the amount of wind power they produce is yet to be determined.

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