Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Farewell Ted Kaufman, We Knew You Too Little

Delaware's newest Senator made his farewell speech on the floor of the US Senate today. Ted Kaufman was selected to take over for Joe Biden when he was elected Vice-President and has turned out to be what a Senator maybe should be, smart, experienced, and not worried about reelection. That last may be because he is a special case, but the results should tell us something.

It seemed a good excuse for a word cloud.
That, and I've been looking for a way to get that creepy looking guy's picture off the top of the page.

Friday, September 24, 2010

How Nice That This Man Could Own Guns

Delaware state police had to use explosives and a robot to arrest this man, David Stanley, after he was found to be shooting from his house in upstate Delaware on Thursday.

They had to close down the main north-south highway (State Route 1) in both directions where it ran past his neighborhood. He was shooting at cars on the highway from his apartment.

Yup, shooting at cars from his apartment. He'd not have been able to do that without the ability to buy as many guns as he needed.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thank You, Mike Castle

I am a little bit shocked tonight to see that Christine O'Donnell has defeated Mike Castle in the republican primary. Pundits will talk about what this means. I don't really care.

I do know that Mike Castle has been a leader in Delaware since I arrived in the First State. He was governor when I was a reporter and when I started working for the state. He's been our Congressman for a good long while. And, while I am a Democrat and might (might) have voted against him for Senate, I like Mike Castle and I am proud to have worked for him and to have known him in a minor way.

Mike Castle is a statesman. In a time of partisan divide, Mike Castle governed. In a time of anger and nastiness, Mike Castle led.

Christine O'Donnell is a joke and there is no way in hell I would ever vote for her for anything.

Now she faces Chris Coons in the general election.  Chris Coons has my vote. He has my support. He will have my energy and he will have large shoes to fill when he takes office after the general election.

More importantly, I want to thank Mike Castle for his outstanding service to the people of Delaware.

Mr. Castle, you have been an inspiration. Thank you.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"The Sound of Sunshine" in American Sign Language

This is charming: a music video of Michael Franti's new tune, The Sound of Sunshine, by the American Sign Language Community. (via Michael Franti's web site and twitter account)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Another Representative Paragraph

I've recently started reading Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson. I chose it based solely on its cover, of course. so far, it's been a fine book, worthy of one of my periodic representative paragraph posts.

The following is a part of a paragraph near the start of the story, as Major Pettigrew, a 60-ish widower is riding in the car of Mrs. Ali, a widow from the village with whom he seems to be falling in love. It's a rainy, gray day.
She laughed, and the Major turned his head to look out of the window at the fog-soaked hedges of the lanes. He was aware that he no longer felt chilled. The hedges, far from being grim and soggy were edged to the last leaf in drops like diamonds. The earth steamed and a horse under a tree shook its mane like a dog and bent to nibble freshly moistened dandelions. The car broke from the hedged land and crested the last rise of the hill, where the road widened. The town spread down the folded valley, opening out along the coastal plain. The sea lay gray and infinite beyond the sharp edge of the beach. In the sky, a rent in the fog let down pale shafts of sunlight to gleam on the water. It was as beautiful and absurd as an illustrated Victorian hymnal, lacking only a descending angel trailing putti and rose garlands. The little car picked up speed as it headed down and the Major felt that the afternoon was somehow already a success.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Who is Using #NetDE on Twitter?

The #NetDE hashtag has become all-O'Donnell all the time lately, or so it feels. And I find I recognize few of the people using it.

The hashtag #netDE was originally declared as a way to flag tweets of interest to Delawareans among the Delaware twitter-users. But now it seems to be spammed-up without-of-state partisans interested in the Delaware Senate primary; especially since the national (?) tea party people decided to get involved in Delaware politics.

So I decided to do a brief, unscientific study and see just who is it that is using the #NetDE hashtag of late.

My survey covers the 12 hours between 8:53 a.m. and 8:53 p.m., Sunday, September 5. That's only because I had cleared my #NetDE column on TweetDeck a bit before heading out into the sunshine around 9 this morning.

Over 40 percent of the people using the #NetDE tag during that period were from out of state.  They were tweeting from Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and "The U.S.A." A few others had no location listed, but didn't appear to be Delawareans.

The non-Delaware folks accounted for more than a third of the #NetDE tweets.

And all of the non-Delaware people were tweeting about politics, from the right-hand side. In fact, two-thirds of all #NetDE tweets during the period were political; only a few of them from the left.

And what can we conclude from this not-very rigorous, not particularly scientific survey?

Politics can be annoying.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Nice Story, Well Told

Today's Wilmington News Journal includes a profile of my friend Kate Walker and her Sussex Dance Academy. Kate has taught dance to our daughters for the last 12 years and her story is a very cool one. I was very happy with the work done by reporter Kim Hoey, who I've known, though less well, even longer.

I will claim a little credit for this one. A News Journal editor tweeted a request for story ideas for their "Crossroads" section a while back. I responded with a story-pitch in the form of a series of 140-character messages. (There's something about that limitation that forces one to get to the point.)

The article chronicles Kate's early career as a nurse, her work as combination school nurse and dance teacher at the southern Delaware School of the Arts, and the founding and growth of the Sussex Dance Academy.
... her studios continue to grow, even in a struggling economy, because of the "mom and pop" atmosphere, she said. Students and parents at Sussex Dance say they feel like they are part of a family -- a family with a mother who can be a bit pushy.
There are also quotes from Miriah Hearn and Kole Lofton, two young adults who I watched grow up at that studio and local schools, who credit Kate with helping them find their course in life.

Kate has helped our girls as well, and I'm very happy to see her get some news coverage.

I was a bit surprised to see a photo of Nova Gaffney identified as "Christina Mahaffie." And to see the photo of Christina labeled "Morgan Brower." (At least in the on-line version)

I've requested a correction. We'll see.