Saturday, April 23, 2011

Professional Pinnacle has a list of up of 5 awesomely sarcastic Supreme Court decisions. It's pretty funny -- I knew about some of them but not others -- but it also probably is the first one to give a specific law prof a shout-out in the acknowledgments!

A hearty congratulations to PrawfsBlawg's (and American University law school) Steve Vladeck, for reaching a professional pinnacle that most of us can only dream of.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spitballs Go Both Ways

As our Readings in Legal Thought class prepares to discuss Schools for Misrule, Walter Olson's best effort at making David Horowitz look like a responsible contributor to academic discourse, I came across this post at LGM on going-ons at the University of Iowa.

The proximate dispute (a gay rights professor responded to "Conservative Coming Out Day" with a hearty "fuck you, Republicans") is less of my interest. I agree that this response was clearly inappropriate. But as the debate escalated from there, I was bemused to read the college Republicans indicting the professor for ... writing books "in her spare time" (a/k/a, as part of her professional duties) on gay rights topics. In other words, for being a scholar in her area of specialty.

Olson's book, of course, can basically be boiled down to juvenile rage that liberals have ideas about topics Olson would rather be kept, well, in the closet. Obviously, of course, one can critique any idea as being poorly written, thought-out, or argued. But Olson, as appears to be a trend, does little more than pluck out funny-sounding titles and throw spitballs at them. And then come the inevitable complaints about how the walls of the intellectual citadel are closed to conservatives.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Red State

New polling out of Egypt reveals some interesting preferences. Egyptians disapprove of both Barack Obama and Hamas, they want a government whose constitution mixes secular and religious sources, and they want to maintain their country's peace treaty with Israel.

Basically, they're Republicans. They should get along with us famously.

Next to the White House

Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), is not a fan of the proposed Latino-American museum on the Mall:
“I don’t want a situation,” said Representative Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia, “where whites go to the original museum, African-Americans go to the African-American museum, Indians go to the Indian museum, Hispanics go to the Latino American museum. That’s not America.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates rejoins: "Much more preferable is a world where we all just go to the white museum."

I should add that I'm not entirely sure why Rep. Moran thinks only Hispanics would or should go to the Latino American museum. I'm interested in other cultures! I like learning about people whose backgrounds differ from my own! Learning about Latino history would probably be really enriching. Maybe Rep. Moran is only interested in learning about white "original" history, but many of us sweep wider in our reach.

The Wisconsin Eight-Ball

As the Wisconsin recall filing deadline approaches, it looks as if the final score will be five Republican and three Democratic state senators being placed back on the ballot.

Some of these candidates are more vulnerable than others, and my early call is that Dems score a net pickup of two seats (putting them one short of a majority). I think all the Dems will hold on to their seats, and Democrats will pick up Kapanke's seat and then one more amongst the pack. But obviously, I hope I'm wrong and they're able to get over the hump.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another Goldstone Clue

Not to keep bragging, but I think this NYT article is yet another confirmation of everything I've been saying about Judge Goldstone and his motives from the get-go.

Comment Moderation On

I've had to turn on comment moderation, in response to a particularly persistent troll who -- apparently in an effort to convince me I was wrong to ban him -- is now "taking an internet dump on [my] internet lawn" (his words from one of the many, many comments I've had to delete). I think he might be drunk.

For the rest of you, I'm online most of the time, so there should be minimal delay between posting and comment approval (or rejection). But if you post at an irregular time (or when I'm in class), there may be a lag. Sorry about that -- hopefully I should be able to lift moderation in a few days.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Best Political Ad Ever

Via Balloon Juice.

Random Acts of Sanity

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R) has vetoed a "birther" bill which would have required presidential candidates to submit their birth certificates to the (state-level) Secretary of State in order to appear on the ballot.
“I do not support designating one person as the gatekeeper to the ballot for a candidate, which could lead to arbitrary or politically motivated decisions,” said Brewer, who was secretary of state until she became governor in 2009.

“In addition, I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for president of the greatest and most powerful nation on Earth to submit their ‘early baptismal circumcision certificates’ among other records to the Arizona secretary of state,” she said. “This is a bridge too far.”

That's ... surprisingly reasonable. Good for Governor Brewer.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Can't Fathom Why They Were Shut Out in the First Place

The Forward has a piece up on Jewish Voice for Peace (an organization which, I have to admit, I thought was much older than its 2001 birthdate) and its effort gain "a seat at the [Jewish] communal table." The controversy is that the JVP either endorses or plays footsy with a number of radical positions -- from a one-state solution to the global BDS -- that the broader Jewish community considers well beyond the pale.

And in their latest gambit that's sure to demonstrate their mainstream-i-ness, JVP's executive director, Rebecca Vilkomerson, is endorsing the new Move Over AIPAC group, which is heading to DC during AIPAC's conference in order to reveal "the extraordinary influence AIPAC has on U.S. policy and how to strengthen an alternative that respects the rights of all people in the region."

And what better way to kick that project off than by honoring Helen Thomas, who infamously declared that the Jewish people in the region should "get the hell out". Now that's respecting rights (as the Judeosphere put it in response to Mondoweiss' astounding defense of Thomas -- that expelling Jews from the Middle East would be a good thing because it might reinvigorate Polish Jewish culture: "I'm deeply touched by this gesture of philanthropic ethnic cleansing.").

Other "luminaries" endorsing the event include Alice Walker and Naomi Klein. Yeah, I don't expect to see JVP at any communal seder tables in the near future.

Actually, you know who the JVP and its buddies are really emulating? Herman Cain. As Adam Serwer notes, Cain's statements are self-evidently not calculated to heighten the appeal of GOP policies to the African-American community. If anything, they're gratuitously alienating to Blacks. What Cain does do is nakedly appeal to the prejudices of White conservatives, who eat it up extra-hungrily because its coming from a Black man. Ditto the JVP -- if their goal is to "gain a seat" at the Jewish communal table, well, yer' doin' it wrong. But if their goal is to gain a seat at a table of folks who never really were big fans of Jewish communal expression and autonomy to begin with, but don't like to think of themselves as anti-Semitic -- well, they're doing it absolutely right. And for the same reason that I don't expect to see Cain keynoting the NAACP convention, I don't see the JVP's exile being lifted anytime soon.

UPDATE: Thomas has withdrawn from the event, saying she didn't want to "distract" from the group's message.

It Wouldn't Have Been Enough

A Republican anti-Dayenu:
One of the first Pesach songs we learn is "Dayenu" - "it would have been enough." The Republican motto when it comes to President Obama seems to be "nothing is enough" - no matter how much President Obama does for Israel, it's not enough for some of our Republican friends.

President Obama has provided Israel with more security assistance than any president in history.
But that's not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama has ushered in an era of unprecedented military cooperation between the United States and Israel.
But that's not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama has done more than any other president to thwart Iran's illicit nuclear ambitions.
But that's not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama fulfilled his promise to boycott Durban II.
But that's not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama renewed sanctions against Syria several times.
But that's not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama fully funded the Arrow 3 ballistic missile system and the Iron Dome system.
But that's not enough for our Republican friends.

President Obama maintained the U.S. policy of ambiguity on Israel's nuclear weapons.
But that's not enough for our Republican friends.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Worshipers at a Masorti Jewish (that's the global name for Conservative Judaism) synagogue in Israel were pelted with stones by religious youth in the latest of a spate of violent attacks against non-Orthodox Jews in Israel by fundamentalists there.

Who could have ever guessed that burgeoning religious extremism in Israel could rebound against the broader global Jewish community? I, for one, am shocked.

Boxing Roundup: 04/17/11

Recapping last night's fights (well, three of them -- I missed Cruz/Honorio).

Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KOs) TD6 Paul McCloskey (22-1, 12 KOs)

This was the dullest fight of the night, albeit against some stiff competition. McCloskey was doing the ol' poor man's Roy Jones thing, which is a sin on its own and a mortal sin when facing an opponent who is far, far faster than he could ever hope to be. The best thing you could say about McCloskey was that he made it awkward, but the fact of the matter is he was being beaten soundly all fight long. The stoppage was a bit wonky (iffy referring was unfortunately a theme of the night), but McCloskey didn't really seem to complain about it until after the fight ended (his corner, on the other hand, was apparently apoplectic). Khan apparently has already said he doesn't feel a rematch is necessary, and I agree with him.

Next on Khan's plate is hopefully a big unification fight with Tim Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs). That's a fight I very much want to see. Tim Bradley is a B+ fighter along every single dimension, except his A+ head. I mean that metaphorically -- he has good boxing IQ and has that intangible "will to win" factor -- but also quite literally: his forehead is one of the most dangerous weapons in the sport.

Khan clearly has the athletic edge, but Bradley will easily be the best and smartest fighter he's faced. Nonetheless, I think I have to favor Khan by a surprisingly healthy margin (given that I like Bradley a lot). The key is the Bradley/Kendall Holt fight. There, too, Bradley was facing a fighter who in terms of raw talent and athleticism was his superior. And while you can say about Bradley that he found a way to win -- good for him, coming off the canvass twice -- I also had the feeling watching that fight that it was Holt's fight to lose when he felt like fighting, which was a sentiment he apparently sensed for only a handful of rounds during the bout. I doubt Khan will have the problem being athletic and aggressive all night long, and that spells trouble for Bradley.

Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) UD12 Andre Berto (27-1, 21 KOs)

I was a Victor Ortiz doubter going into this fight, but not more than anyone else. I knew the talent was there, but I had the same questions the broader boxing community had -- about his heart, chin, and commitment. As for Berto, I think I was a little higher on him than some. Even though I felt the Collazo fight was essentially a toss-up, I think Collazo was underrated and Berto acquitted himself very well in a very tough fight. I also think that Collazo would make a very interesting opponent for Ortiz the next time out in what is still a pretty thin welterweight division.

Folks said this fight could be good, and I didn't doubt that, but I didn't think it could be FOTY -- mostly because I thought if things got that chippy, Ortiz couldn't hang. Boy, was I wrong. Ortiz was in full seek-and-destroy mode, and it created a firecracker of a fight which Ortiz won by close and convincing unanimous decision. Berto seemed genuinely taken aback by Ortiz's aggression from the start, and landed on the canvass in round one. And while he never really seemed to recover from that knockdown, he never stopped trying -- putting Ortiz down in the second and then trading knockdowns in a wild sixth round that has to be a top contender for round of the year. Ortiz showed true grit and determination, stood up to some hellacious shots, and never lost his cool or his focus. It was a performance that made believers out of a lot of folks, myself included. Congratulations.

The only blemish on this fight was a miserable job referring by Mike Ortega. He was inserting himself into the fight way too much, and is very lucky that his bogus point deduction against Ortiz for hitting behind the head was not decisive. I think Ortega was "warning" Ortiz for a lot of borderline shots (including the one that resulted in the deduction), and in any event they were caused almost entirely by Berto trying to duck underneath Ortiz. The deduction nearly sapped the momentum from what was turning into (and eventually reemerged as) a classic high-level brawl, and that would have been inexcusable.

Orlando Salido (35-11-2, 23 KOs) TKO8 Juan Manuel Lopez (30-1, 27 KOs)

Probably the biggest pure upset of the night. Salido's record is deceptive, but he wasn't supposed to beat JuanMa, who was steadily climbing up the P4P rankings in preparation for a megafight with Yuriorkis Gamboa. Bet letting that fight "marinate" forever doesn't seem like such a good idea now, does it Bob Arum? Anyway, while at one level this is rightfully seen as a pretty big upset, on another, it was a long time coming. Lopez's chin isn't great and he has a tendency to get into slugfests where he spends too much time being rocked around the ring. To his credit, he's shown tremendous resilience in battling back to win those fights, but eventually when you're ragdolling in the corner the ref is going to stop it before you have a chance to storm back. And that's basically what happened here.

Again, there will be some who question this stoppage. It was oddly timed -- Lopez was still throwing back and slipping, though he had been badly hurt and was taking flush shots. Honestly, if the ref had stopped it 25 seconds earlier I think it would have been less problematic, because there was a flurry in there where JuanMa's legs got all googly and his hands dropped. I think what happened was that the ref saw that combination and his "okay, if Lopez takes anything more flush I'm stepping in alert" went off. 10 seconds later, Lopez was still getting hit cleanly and the ref jumped in (even though by now Lopez was at least managing to throw back).

I can't say I agree with the stoppage, but I don't think it was an utter travesty either. The fans in Puerto Rico, needless to say, disagreed, and belted the ring with water bottles (hitting Showtime commentator Al Bernstein while he was mic'd).

Frankly, if this bout teaches Lopez a little humility and gets him to straighten up his punches, I think it will be good for him. And as for Salido, he regains a featherweight title, though I'm not sure who is next for him. A rematch with Gamboa would be a terrible idea, as though Salido gave a game effort, Gamboa's style is tailor made to eat him alive seven nights a week.