Archive for April, 2008

Everybody loves the BCS

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Well, everybody who matters, anyway.

Heh.

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Hmm… now, does this “humanize” Hillary, or make her an effete, out-of-touch elitist? We embed, you decide!

(In fairness, I have trouble with those things sometimes too.)

P.S. She’s also never heard of Red Bull, and she hasn’t pumped her own gas in years. Elitist!! ;)

On a more serious note, after the jump are the clips of Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Hillary this morning in South Bend. Notre Dame fans should at least watch the first minute of the first clip — there’s a Fighting Irish reference!

Also, Buffalo-area readers may want to skip ahead to around 5:45 in the second clip, where he (briefly) takes her to task for not improving the Western New York economy. w00t!

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Professors giving students bad grades: out. Professors suing students: in.

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

I’ve seen not one, but two stories today about professors suing their students. The first one involves a writing instructor at Dartmouth who appears intent on sabotaging her own academic career on the basis of, apparently, personal pique. (More here, here, here, here and here.) Bizarre… absolutely bizarre. The second, perhaps slightly more serious case involves a Little Rock law professor who is suing for defamation arising out of a racially charged controversy at UALR. Fun.

Lesbians sue lesbians in battle over Lesbos

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Hot Lesbian (legal) action!

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – A Greek court has been asked to draw the line between the natives of the Aegean Sea island of Lesbos and the world’s gay women.

Three islanders from Lesbos—home of the ancient poet Sappho, who
praised love between women—have taken a gay rights group to court for
using the word lesbian in its name.

One of the plaintiffs said Wednesday that the name of the association, Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece, "insults the identity" of the people of Lesbos, who are also known as Lesbians.

"My sister can’t say she is a Lesbian," said Dimitris Lambrou. "Our
geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no
connection whatsoever with Lesbos
," he said.

Tee hee. (Hat tip: Mark Steyn, who says "lawyers in Gay, Michigan will be watching the case with interest." Heh. Just wait until Dildo, Newfoundland and Intercourse, Pennsylvania get in on the action!)

P.S. Maybe Angela Keathley and Renee Thomas can file amicus briefs?

(Hat tip: A&A.)

Tennessee Chief Justice retires

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

William M. Barker, the Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court*, is retiring.

*or is the proper title "Chief Justice of the State of Tennessee"? I’m not sure.

Trustee donates $15 million to NDLS

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

More good news from Notre Dame Law School:

Robert F. Biolchini, a member of the University of Notre Dame Board of Trustees
and partner in the Tulsa, Okla., law firm Stuart, Biolchini & Turner, and
his wife, Frances, have made a $15 million gift to the University to help
underwrite the renovation of the current Notre Dame Law School building. …

After a comprehensive renovation of the existing law school building, which
will be renamed Biolchini Hall, it will house an expanded Kresge Law Library.
The renovation in Biolchini Hall also will include two 50-seat classrooms, new
space for Notre Dame Law Review, and new offices and work space for admissions
and career services. The exterior of the building, including masonry, windows
and roofing, will be restored where necessary.

A covered archway will link Biolchini Hall to the adjacent Eck Hall of Law, a
three-story, 85,000-square-foot building that is under construction on the site
of the former campus post office. Eck Hall will be composed primarily of a new
moot courtroom, classrooms and faculty offices. When it is completed in January
2009, law school operations will be moved out of the existing building and
renovation work will begin.

“The combination of Biolchini and Eck Halls will give Notre Dame one of the
outstanding law school facilities in the country,” said Patricia A. O’Hara,
Joseph A. Matson Dean of Notre Dame Law School. “On behalf of all law school
faculty, students and alumni, I want to offer my deepest thanks to Bob, Fran and
their family.”

Hmm… Biolchini Hall and Eck Hall, connected by a covered archway. Hey, how much does it cost to build a covered archway? We should put together a blog fundraising campaign, and get it named the "Irish Trojan Archway." ;)

Obama rejects, denounces & disowns Wright

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

I think the term "Sister Souljah Moment" may need to be renamed as "Jeremiah Wright Moment":

Obama basically said exactly what Andrew Sullivan said yesterday that he needed to say, so it’s no surprise that Sullivan called Obama’s remarks "a very impressive, clear and constructive re-framing of the core message of his candidacy. … [T]oday, we found that he can fight back, and take a stand, without
calculation and in what is clearly a great amount of personal
difficulty and political pain. It’s what anyone should want in a
president." More reactions here, including this from Jonathan Chait:

His denunciation of Rev. Wright today seems to be pretty much a
bullseye. Why did he let the story hang out there so long without a
response? I don’t know, but I do see a pattern here: Throughout the
campaign, Obama has made very good tactical moves, but he’s made them
slowly. Hillary Clinton, by contrast, has made a lot of mistakes, but
she does grasp the 24-hour news cycle and she acts very quickly.

That’s my impression, too.

Glenn Reynolds, however, is unimpressed. I expect that most on the Right will react similarly. But I’m not sure what else they want Obama to say. They can say, as Glenn does, that he should have said it sooner. Fine. But that’s a weak criticism. "Better late than never" is a common expression for a reason. And, look, can we take a big-picture view of this, please? Even if you have a completely cynical opinion on Obama’s transformation vis a vis Wright — even if you don’t believe him for a second when he claims he didn’t realize until now that Wright was so radical and disgusting — let’s take a look at where we are now, as opposed to where we were a month ago or three months ago or 20 years ago.

Right now, at this very moment, we have an African-American candidate for president who commands overwhelming support within the black community, who has just explicitly and firmly denounced the radical and hateful nonsense that is all too often accepted and repeated without question within that selfsame black community. That’s a very good thing. Wright will undoubtedly dismiss Obama’s comments as, in Al Sharpton‘s words, "grandstanding in front of white people," but the truth is that Obama is speaking to black people, too — he’s speaking to everyone — and he is sending a very clear message: enough with the bulls**t. Haven’t conservatives been waiting for a black leader to do that for, like, forever?

This is the promise of the Obama candidacy, encapsulated and made real. Obama is urging blacks to leave behind, once and for all, the politics of conspiratorial victimhood — the politics of Jeremiah Wright and, although Obama can’t afford politically to say so explicitly, of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton — and embrace the politics of unity and hope and, ultimately, self-empowerment.

You can parse his words and question his timing, and you’ll find plenty to criticize. But ultimately — again, big picture, people — he’s doing the right thing, and it’s a very important "right thing." Either his heart’s in the right place, or, if you want to be all cynical
about it, he’s pretending that it is, and his overall message demands
that he continue to do so, which is almost as good. Either way, the Barack Obama who spoke today is the natural ally of anyone who has ever despaired over the blame-whitey victimhood culture within the black community. No, he’s not quite channeling Bill Cosby. He wouldn’t be in this position if he were. No, he didn’t throw Jeremiah Wright under the bus last fall. It’s a delicate and difficult tightrope he’s walking. He’s not perfect. But no one is, and Obama is trying harder than anyone else has, on this stage, ever before. Be reasonable! 

I’m not saying how we got here is entirely unimportant, but I think recognizing where we are now is vastly more important. And I think it would be a shame if Obama is now effectively crucified by both sides: the political right (and its newfound ally, Hillary Clinton), for not saying this sooner; and radical elements of the liberal-black community, for saying it at all. Rightly or wrongly, the takeaway lesson, if such a two-front assault destroys him, would be that a black politician cannot succeed on the national stage, at least until the baby boomers die off. Conservatives ought not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. (That’s liberals’ job!) Obama is doing the right thing here, and if he’s a little late to the party, slap him on the wrist and then defend him against the coming Wright/Sharpton/etc. onslaught. And then beat him in November on security issues or whatever. But he’s on the right side of this issue, and if he loses because of it, it will be a shame for everyone — principled conservatives included.

P.S. My dad writes: "It’s now expected that Wright … will come back and further Diss
the apostate. / This will be Good. Instead of Hillary & McCain
running for President against Jeremiah Wright, Wright will be perceived
as running against Obama. Excellent."

My dad, incidentally, says Wright is "evidently jealous" of Obama, but I think Cornhuskers may have hit closer to the mark when he said that Wright’s ramblings confirmed a longstanding fear that the old-guard "civil rights leaders would fear that they are going to lose that
‘white man behind the curtain keeping black people down’ trump card" and would consequently go after Obama, knowing that "it’s hard to preach this when the person sitting in the big chair at 1600 Penn is a black man." Further support for this theory: now Al Sharpton is coming after Obama, too.

This is good, as my dad said. If Obama is running against Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright, he’ll win in a landslide.

Indiana is everything

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Thesis: between Jeremiah Wright’s latest ramblings, Hillary Clinton’s continued domination of the media spin game, the high-profile AP/Ipsos poll showing Hillary doing significantly better than Obama in November, the numerical fudge factor provided by the Michigan and Florida wild cards, and the incredibly unfavorable geography of the upcoming calendar for Obama (West Virginia and Kentucky will, in consecutive weeks, provide Hillary with her biggest non-Arkansas margins of victory in the entire campaign, and Puerto Rico may not be much better), events are now conspiring against Barack Obama such that Hillary may actually have a chance — and Obama’s only real opportunity to reliably stop her from seizing that chance is to win in Indiana on Tuesday. If he loses, then heaven help us, she might just be the nominee.

Discuss.

I’m not sure whether I believe this "thesis," but I am worried about the possibility that it might be right. And I’m apparently not alone, judging by Hillary’s Intrade surge.

One key aspect of my thesis is a recognition of the fact that the media refuses to contextualize the primary calendar in any meaningful way. Hillary got waaaaaay too much credit for winning Pennsylvania, which was almost a can’t-lose state for her, just as Obama got waaaaaay too much credit for most of his post-Super Tuesday victories in February, which were generally in "gimme" states for him. So, given this history, I assume that Hillary will again get waaaaaay too much credit for her inevitable blowout wins in West Virginia and Kentucky. (It’s especially devastating for Obama that West Virginia has a whole week all to itself! And I suspect Kentucky will totally overshadow Oregon the following week, especially given what I assume will be her much larger margin there.)

Of course, Hillary knows all this, which is why I doubt she’ll drop out even after an Indiana loss. But at least an Obama victory in Indiana — coupled with a North Carolina win, of course — would stop the bleeding and reset the storyline heading into WV and KY. In addition, it might cause her fundraising to dry up. But if Hillary earns a "split" on May 6, the money will continue flowing, and the media storyline will continue to be completely in her favor… and Obama will have no opportunity for a "firewall" victory until, well, ever. (I don’t think anybody is going to care about Montana and South Dakota.) And then we’re all left scratching our heads and wondering if the superdelegates will buy the HRC/MSM line on electability, popular vote, working-class whites, etc., or if they’ll see through the smoke & mirrors and realize that, despite it all, Obama is still clearly the better choice for the party, all things considered.

I still think Obama wins, in the end, if only because of the superdelegates’ fear of repercussions in the black community if they deny him the nomination that he will be perceived (at least among blacks) as having earned. Hillary’s electability case would have to be completely overwhelming, to the point of being undeniably right, to overcome this hurdle, I think. As long as the electability question is debatable, I don’t see her wrenching this thing away from him. But making assumptions about the psychology of superdelegates is a risky business, and I can increasingly see a path to her at least having a plausible road to a floor fight at the convention over Michigan and Florida. Which would just about guarantee a McCain win in November.

Bottom line: Obama really, really, really needs to win Indiana.

P.S. When I say "the HRC/MSM line," I don’t mean to imply that the media wants Hillary to win. On the contrary. However, for a whole constellation of reasons that I don’t feel like getting into right now, the media environment is incredibly friendly to Hillary at the moment, despite most journalists’ general preference for Obama, and the environment is unlikely to change without an Obama win in Indiana.

UPDATE: In comments, eagleye
writes, "I don’t think the superdelegates will let this go to a floor
fight at the convention. There is going to be a lot of pressure on them
to act sooner than later." Ah, but this is a misunderstanding of the
process. The superdelegates do not have the power to prevent a floor
fight!
They have the power to get Obama to the "magic number" before
the convention, yes. But that doesn’t necessarily prevent a floor
fight. Only you can prevent forest fires, and only Hillary Clinton can prevent a floor fight.

If she doesn’t drop out, then the fight keeps going. The mere fact of Obama reaching the "magic number" in the media’s
delegate counts in June (which I assume he will, because I assume most of the superdelegates will heed Howard Dean’s call to announce their intentions) doesn’t necessarily
mean that Hillary won’t keep fighting all the way to the convention.

I explain why after the jump, and then I attempt to clarify my race-related comment above.

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Obama loses the Duke vote

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Barack Obama shot some hoops with the North Carolina Tar Heels yesterday. "You guys are leaving the next president of the United States wide
open," Roy Williams jokingly yelled at his players at one point.

No word on whether Williams was wearing a Hillary sticker at the time. ;)

Alan Keyes loses, again

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Eternally entertaining wingnut Alan Keyes, who finished ninth in the Republican presidential race — behind McCain, Huckabee, Romney, Paul, Giuliani, Thompson, Hunter and Uncommitted (but ahead of Tancredo!) — left the GOP earlier this month and decided to seek the Constitution Party nomination for president instead. Well, over the weekend, Keyes lost the CP nomination to anti-war radio host Chuck Baldwin. Reason‘s Jesse Walker calls it "a small but satisfying victory for two noble though possibly lost
causes: the movement to end the occupation of Iraq and the
transideological coalition to get Alan Keyes to shut up." Heh. (Hat tip: Sully.)

Um… open thread?

Monday, April 28th, 2008

Sorry for the lack of blog posts today. Becky says my readers are going to be worried that I’m dead. :) Don’t worry, I’m alive. I’ve just been busy. But I haven’t been reading too many news articles, or blogs, today. So I guess I’ll just open the floor for discussion of whatever y’all want. The Voter ID case? Jeremiah Wright? Miley Cyrus? Whatever. Go nuts.

P.S. On Reverend Wright, quoth Andrew Sullivan:

Wright’s cooptation of Obama for his own agenda – his assertion that Obama’s distancing from him is insincere – requires, in fact demands a response from Obama.

Obama needs not just to distance himself from Wright’s views; he needs to disown him at this point. Wright himself, it seems to me, has become part of what Obama is fighting against: the boomer, Vietnam era’s obsession with its red-blue, white-black, pro and anti-America fixations. That is not what this election needs to be about; and Wright’s massive, racially divisive and, yes, bitter provocation requires a proportionate response.

We need a speech or statement from Obama in which he utterly repudiates this poison, however personally difficult that may be, however damaging the impact will be. The statement today will not do it. This is no longer about cynics trying to associate one man’s politics with another. It is now about Wright attempting to associate himself and some of his noxious, stupid, rancid views with the likely Democratic nominee. Wright has given Obama no choice – and he has also given him another opportunity. [Obama] needs to seize it.

Good news from Comcast

Monday, April 28th, 2008

In light of the revelation that they were, essentially, stealing our cable, Comcast has agreed to refund our April cable bill. So that’s good. They’ve now done right by me, as far as my particular situation is concerned, so I’m pleased about that. My broader concerns expressed in the previous post remain in force.

See the nice fishies

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

We went to the Aquarium of the Smokies in Gaitlinburg this afternoon. It was suprisingly awesome, and Loyette was totally fascinated by the fishies, including this jellyfish.

Congo capital gripped by penis panic

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Posted without comment:

Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men’s penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft. …

Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure. …

Police arrested the accused sorcerers and their victims in an effort to avoid the sort of bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 suspected penis snatchers were beaten to death by angry mobs. …

Kinshasa’s police chief, Jean-Dieudonne Oleko, told Reuters…, “When you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it’s become tiny or that they’ve become impotent. To that I tell them, ‘How do you know if you haven’t gone home and tried it’?”

(Hat tip: Becky.)

Comcast was stealing our cable!

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Well, the good news is, our high-speed Internet woes are — apparently — finally over. The fourth time was the charm, as Thursday’s visit from Comcast techs fixed the problem. We have a newly installed coaxial line running from the cable source to our apartment, and as a result, our downstream speed is now faster than ever, our upstream speed is back to normal, and we’ve had no more intermittent connectivity outages.

The bad news is, we finally know what was causing our issue in the first place — and the explanation is pretty outrageous.

As it turns out, our previous cable line, which is supposed to run from the “lockbox” (where we have our own individual cable outlet, labeled with our apartment number) directly into our apartment, was instead being run through two separate splitters in the attic above our building, with each splitter taking a portion of our cable signal — that we pay for — and feeding it into someone else’s apartment!! Thus, the signal that actually reached our apartment was severely diluted, and the resulting decreased signal strength (roughly an 8 dB dropoff) was apparently the culprit in all of our Internet woes.

Mind you, this wasn’t the result of our neighbors stealing our cable. They don’t have access to the locked attic. According to the Comcast techs who explained it to me, this was the result of Comcast splitting off our cable line to feed a signal into these other apartments!! The cable company was stealing our cable!!

More details after the jump.

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