By Jefferson Flanders

As Jimmy Cannon used to say, Nobody asked me, but…

AN ADDITIONAL DELAY FOR THE CAPE WIND project, caused by a slower-than-expected review by the federal Minerals Management Service, means America’s first offshore wind farm can’t expect approval until at least 2008. Cape Wind Associates wants to construct 130 wind turbines in a 25 mile-area of Nantucket Sound, but has faced opposition from local residents who fear the windmills will kill wildlife (birds) and ruin the natural seascape. Some of the resistance, however, is NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard), plain and simple. The company claims its project could produce about 79 percent of the daily electrical energy needs of the Cape and Islands.

All things considered, offshore wind power appears to offer the least-environmentally damaging source of energy—it’s renewable, clean and, according to some estimates, capable of providing significant amounts of energy for the Northeast and West Coast. Wind sure beats coal and nuclear, and Denmark has relied on offshore wind power farms without significant environmental downsides, so it’s not completely untested. if any project ever deserved regulatory fast-tracking, Cape Wind would seem to be it.

IS THE UNITED STATES A GREATER THREAT TO WORLD PEACE THAN IRAN? Apparently 48 percent of Germans think so, if you believe the latest polls there. Claus Christian Malzahn, Spiegel Online’s Berlin bureau chief, calls the current anti-Americanism the “wonder drug of German politics.” He adds:

Not a day passes in Germany when someone isn’t making the wildest claims, hurling the vilest insults or spreading the most outlandish conspiracy theories about the United States. But there’s no risk involved and it all serves mainly to boost the German feeling of self-righteousness.

Malzahn also sees hypocrisy at work: “You can call the American president a mass murderer and book a flight to New York the next day. You can lament the average American’s supposed lack of culture and savvy and meanwhile send off for the documents for the Green Card lottery.”

The strange popularity of David Hasselhoff in Germany now becomes more explicable. The Hoff is now starring in a production of Mel Brooks'”The Producers” in Las Vegas.

IT’S OK WHEN AN AUTHOR DEMONSTRATES INSIDER KNOWLEDGE, but only when he or she shares that with the reader. Lawrence Downes did just that on the New York Times editorial page when he recently wrote about Senator Barack Obama’s Hawaiian upbringing, “For Obama, Estranged in a Strange Land, Aloha Had Its Limits.” Downes also grew up in Hawaii and in discussing the many cultures and races who came to the island tells us that “…A pidgin English field guide would list buk-buks, pakes, buddaheads, katonks, mokes, titas, popolos, yobos, blalahs, haoles and portagees.” But then Downes doesn’t translate the terms for us! Too precious by half.

Here are the translations of these terms (some of which are derogatory), drawn largely from e-Hawaii’s Pidgin English Dictionary: buk-buks (Filipinos), pakes (chinese ), buddaheads (Japanese from Hawaii), katonks (Japanese from mainland U.S.), mokes (large, tough Hawaiian males), titas (female mokes), popolos (African Americans), yobos (Koreans), blalahs (large Hawaiian males), haoles (Caucasians) and portagees (Portuguese).

THE NEW, QUIETER SINGLE FROM COUNTRY DUO BIG AND RICH, “Lost In This Moment” features John Rich’s smooth, distinctive voice; Rich sang lead occasionally for Lonestar, so he knows his way around a ballad.

THE WORDS FOR THE WEEK FROM DWIGHT EISENHOWER, whose intelligence, wit, and were underestimated by many: “Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels — men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.”

Reprinted from Neither Red nor Blue

Copyright © 2007 Jefferson Flanders

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