Friday, September 18, 2009

Her name is Danmell Ndonye

The name of the Hofstra student who falsely accused four men of rape has been published. Here it is at NYPost. (Don't know who published the name first.)

Update: Sounds like the press found out her name with unofficial help from police. From HuffPo:
The woman was identified as Danmell Ndonye of Manhattan by a law enforcement official with firsthand knowledge who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the name. A call to a Manhattan phone listing for a Ndonye was returned by a woman saying it was a wrong number.

Ralph Stanley

We saw Ralph Stanley last weekend at the Cedar Cultural Center, a small venue near our house. He was amazing. He's 82 and announced he'd just been released from the hospital. I might have thought that was a performer stunt but he had the IV bruise on his hand to prove it.

I'm not generally a bluegrass fan, but we discovered Dr. Stanley when O Brother Where Art Thou? came out. He was the voice of the Grand Dragon/Wizard (whatever they call themselves) of the KKK who sang O Death a cappella. (Video here.) He won a Grammy for the song in 2002 for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Age and infirmity only make him sound more compelling (and by that I mean chilling) when he sings this.

Before Saturday's show began, as I was looking around the room and taking in the crowd, I felt like I do at the dog training club: "these are not quite my people". That was confirmed during the show when Dr. Stanley made a joke formatted thusly: "...made me as uncomfortable as Karl Rove at a [somebody] concert." The room erupted wildly. Everyone but us knew who the somebody is and what somebody's political leanings are.

His band was completely amazing. It included a fiddle, lead guitar, banjo, rhythm guitar played by his 17 year old grandson, and a bass. Each were incredibly skilled and together they were tight. Watching them live really gives you appreciation for how difficult what they're doing is. You can see brows furrow and jaws clench through difficult passages and that helps you note the coordination and dexterity (and years of practice) required to execute what they're playing. If you search on youtube for Ralph Stanley, you'll find lots of footage of him.

I'm sorry to not be able to connect this to bacon. Bacon, we had a good run.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bringing home the bacon. Or not. (Three bacon posts in a row. Thank you very much.)

Here's where we're at on unemployment: 9.7% for August 2009. (This is from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.)

And to refresh recollections, here's the projected unemployment graph from the Romer/Bernstein report used to justify the stimulus bill. (This is the third time I've posted this graph. Previous posts on the topic from June 5, 2009 and January 16, 2009.)

I'll leave it to economic historians to say whether the stimulus has helped with unemployment. This much is clear: we have not seen a downward turn to the unemployment rate yet; the report projected that we would see a relatively sharp turn by now. Of course, things may have been worse than was understood when the report issued in January 2009 and the stimulus money may be being spent more slowly than the plan provided.

Speaking of bacon and internet nonsense

Look what I can do! I can speak in dancing bacon.

Kanye is everywhere

In case you haven't heard, there's a Kanye-ruins-people's-moments meme that's on fire about the interwebs. See more here and at

Update to post an example of the fun people are having with this. This is one of the silliest:

One more of the animal variety:

At times I hate the press

I saw this story on the CNN website this morning and it got me riled up at bit. I understand protecting the identity of victims of certain crimes, but once it has been determined that no crime as been committed, then I don't. Add to the fact that all the articles I found reporting the "crime" also mentioned the alleged suspects by name and in some cases their addresses were also mentioned. How is that fair? How does that fit into our supposed "innocent until proven guilty" system of justice? Perhaps it's because of her age (though that isn't mentioned), but 18 is considered adult, so I don't really understand.

If I were any of these guys, I would be very upset. Why isn't her name being mentioned? I'm glad to read that criminal charges are being investigated (as they should be) and when she is charged, she should be named.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I expect that by now even people who don't follow tennis have heard about Serena William's tirade that handed a point -- matchpoint, specifically -- to Kim Clijsters at the U.S. Open in their semi-final match over the weekend. This site has a good recap with transcripts (to the extent a transcript can be generated from the available video).

Here's the key portion of tirade, directed at a LINE JUDGE, from an angle where you can read Serena's lips at least in spots:

Serena swears to God she can or will "take this [f***ing or m*f***ing] ball and shove it" somewhere in the linesperson's f***ing anatomy. It's been reported she said "down your throat". The words conveyed a physical threat, and the words were amplified by her pointing a racquet aggressively at the line judge while stomping toward her.

Michael Kimmel, writing at HuffPo, claims that the line judge was intimidated, or the umpire and referee interpretted Serena's behavior as intimidating, because Serena is a large black woman. He blames it on a mix of racism and sexism. He says that McEnroe and Connors displayed similar behavior and got away with it. Uh, no. No they did not, as far as I remember. I wasn't following tennis when they played, but I've seen the clips of their tantrums. They swore. They yelled at the CHAIR UMPIRE (big difference). But I haven't seen a single incidence of them threatening physical harm to anyone, let alone a line judge.

Kimmel would have a point if Serena's behavior had been on par with McEnroe's and if more serious consequences were meted out for her than they were for him. But those aren't the facts here. Serena's behavior was worse than McEnroe's and it was the worst on-court behavior I've ever seen from a tennis player. It was absolutely a rule violation. Since she'd received a warning earlier for breaking a racquet, this second violation carried a mandatory point penalty. It's Serena's fault this happened. Serena is not a victim here. The $10k fine is completely appropriate.

The most unfortunate thing about the incident is that Clijsters was robbed of the opportunity to win the match of her own volition. She had it in hand, had played a beautiful match, and deserved to get that win without the point penalty.

It was, by the way, a foot fault called by the line judge that started the episode and I say that if the line judge clearly saw a foot fault, she ought to call it, no matter where in the match it occurred and no matter the color or gender of the player. It would not, however, be right for a line judge to selectively call foot faults.

Serena has issued two statements about the incident. The first did not contain an apology but the second did. Though she typically gives her god Jehovah credit for her tennis wins, she did not credit her god Jehovah for making the tirade possible.