Saturday, January 05, 2008

"There Must Be Violence Against Women"

Jill of Feministe links to an article of that title in the Yemen Times, with the statement: "Sometimes, words fail."

But, but....I thought feminists don't talk about human rights in the Arab world?

Can't process....must go watch Fox....

UPDATE: One of Amber's commenters raises a good point: if this is just about preserving Islamic mores, why don't women ever get to beat their brothers for their own sexual transgressions, imbibing alcohol, etc.? Or do they and we just don't hear about it?

Not that I want to expand the sphere of domestic violence as religious enforcement, but it does show at least some of the disingenuouness behind the assertion that this has nothing to do with gender hierarchy.

How Can O'Reilly Piss Me Off?

Let me count the ways. Somewhere in the third digit comes shoving an Obama aide out of the way at a New Hampshire rally, then justifying it because "no one on this earth is going to block a shot on The O'Reilly Factor. It is not going to happen."

Go to Hell, O'Reilly. Honestly, he's just a thug with a microphone.

Boxing Blogging: 1/04/08

Bizarro world boxing in Tulsa, Oklahoma last night. Zahir Raheem was exciting! Allan Green was boring! There were no decisions of questionable merit! Very strange.

Zahir Raheem (29-2, 17 KOs) KO1 Ricardo Dominguez (23-3-2, 15 KOs)

Everybody, myself included, was less than thrilled to see that Raheem was being shown on ESPN2 again. After all, in his last outing he completely stunk up the joint fighting Cristobal Cruz, which followed a similarly dull and dismal performance against Popo Freitas. Raheem just has been boring to watch, tying up over and over and over again until I wanted to gouge my eyes out.

But I'll be if he don't look fun last night, putting Dominguez away with an excellent left hook. Sure, the fight lasted less than 80 seconds. And fine, Dominguez probably could have gotten up had he had any interest in fighting. And Dominguez has a padded record, with only seven victories over fighters with winning records. But credit where credit is due. Raheem landed a good shot, and for the brief time the fight continued, he looked sharp and aggressive.

Of course, it's easy for Raheem to let loose against a fighter he outclasses to the degree he does Dominguez (though the gap was even more significant over Cruz). I mean, John Ruiz looked exciting when he fought Otis Tisdale. So, like with Ruiz, the question is whether this is a real change in Raheem's fighting style, or an exception due to overmatched opposition. For his career's sake (and my own viewing pleasure), I hope it's the former.

Carson Jones (13-5-1, 7 KOs) MD6 Jose Luis Gonzalez (11-2, 9 KOs)

Jones avenged two amateur losses to Gonzalez and ended a three fight skid with an exciting and deserved decision over Jose Luis Gonzalez in the best fight of the night. It was a perfect styles-make-fights match-up, as the bigger, stronger Gonzalez squared off against the smaller but quicker Jones.

Jones' losses have been to good competition, so his record probably makes him look a bit worse than he is, but he still has serious flaws as a fighter. He relies on his uppercut way too much, for starters, and more dangerously shoots it from way too far outside. And he spent far too much time standing in front of the stronger Gonzalez when he should have been using his speed to move about. But he showed tremendous heart and came back from adversity (he lost rounds two and three rather decisively) to score the victory here. Gonzalez certainly didn't look poor tonight, and I doubt anyone would object to a rematch between these two.

George Tahdooahnippah (9-0-1, 8 KOs) D4 James Cook (10-3-1, 7 KOs)

This was a step up for Tahdooahnippah, and I can't say he passed with flying colors. It's not that he "escaped" with a draw -- though it was a close match, I'd say if anything the bout leaned in his favor. But Cook was an opponent hand-picked to lose in spectacular fashion to a 9-0 fighter with 8 KOs. Cook had been knocked out in each of his three losses, and not by particularly promising fighters (one was 7-21). Worse yet, he hadn't fought in over three years prior to this bout. Simply put, Tahdooahnippah should have smoked him.

Instead, the "Comanche Boy" looked rather wild and technically unsound. Again, he wasn't losing (except the last round where Cook opened up on him), he just didn't look particularly impressive. If Tahdooahnippah is going to go anywhere, he needs to get back into the gym and nail down his fundamentals, because he needs to beat folks like Cook if he's to go anywhere. If anything, he's lucky that he was exposed by a fighter who still wasn't skilled enough to hurt him.

Allan Green (26-1, 18 KOs) UD10 Rubin Williams (29-3-1, 16 KOs)

YAWN. Green handily won a unanimous decision in a fight that primarily consisted of him and Williams looking across the ring at each other. Green demonstrated a pretty smart jab, but nothing else in an incredibly dull affair. Even the 9th round knockdown came off a jab -- it wasn't too hard, Williams probably was just surprised to see a punch actually come his way. Indeed, the most interesting part of the bout was probably listening to Teddy Atlas try and speculate as to why Green continually was looking down at his feet (something that did not affect him this fight, but which a stronger Super Middleweight could make him pay for in dramatic fashion).

Green can be exciting, but last night all his worst instincts were on display. I came out of tonight with significantly less respect for him than I did before. However, I do want to see him in with a top 168 pounder, because for me it's win-win: the "good" Allan Green would make it an explosive, competitive fight, and the "bad" Green would get deservedly spanked. Either way, I'd be happy.

Meanwhile, tonight brash New York slickster Paulie Malignaggi (23-1, 5 KOs) defends his junior welterweight title against tough Herman Ngoudjo (16-1, 9 KOs). I think a lot of writers aren't giving Ngoudjo the credit he deserves. Malignaggi is experienced against high-level fighters, but Ngoudjo is no slouch in that department either. A lot of folks thought he beat Jose Luis Castillo in the last fight Castillo fought well in. He owns a (razor-close, true) decision win over Randall Bailey, and has fought surprisingly tough competition for a fighter in only his 18th pro fight (he won the NABF crown in only his ninth fight). Malignaggi is a very slick boxer, but he's beatable if you can catch with him, and he doesn't have the power to keep folks off him. Ngoudjo will pressure the New Yorker, and try to make it a rough fight. I still think Malignaggi has the advantage, but I don't think Ngoudjo should be written off. This should be fun.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Major Andy Olmsted, aka G'kar of Obsidian Wings, has been killed in Iraq. Hilzoy has posted the message he wrote in the event of his death.

Rest in peace.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

You Got Pwned By Northfield

With 8 precincts left to report, Ray Cox was beating Kevin Dahle by 300 votes. All 8 precincts were in Northfield. Northfield is relatively liberal, but it's also a place Cox has historically done quite well in.

Northfield went for Dahle by nearly 2,000 votes, in an election where only about 12,000 votes were cast.

Oh yeah. This election is ours.

MN Special Election

The State Senate special election here still remains really tight. Republican Ray Cox currently holds a 220 vote lead with 66% of precincts reporting (42 of 63)

RAY COX (R) 3556 50.08
KEVIN DAHLE (D) 3333 46.94

However, Northfield still largely hasn't reported in. Northfield has nine precincts, eight of which still are yet to report (the one that is in went for Dahle 143 to 106 (56.75% - 42.06%)). Even beyond the college students, Northfield is considered at least liberal leaning, so its fertile ground for Dahle.

More importantly, my precinct specifically (which includes most, but not all, Carleton students) isn't in yet. Why does that matter? Simple. Turnout hasn't been very high this election. I've seen precincts with as few as four votes cast. Most have been around 100 cast. When my roommate voted at about 6 PM tonight (two hours before polls closed), he told me 820 people had voted in my Northfield precinct. This is an overwhelmingly liberal precinct, with a lot of voters coming in. Once Northfield reports, we'll see where this race ends up.

I Voted Today!

You Iowans think you've got all the attention. Well I voted in the special election to fill Minnesota's 25th State Senate seat. And with one precinct reporting, my candidate, Kevin Dahle is winning with a whopping 60% of the vote (out of 23 cast).

His Republican opponent, Ray Cox, is reasonably moderate. In fact, I almost voted for him in 2004 -- I was undecided until I was in the voting booth. He does, however, have a significant tendency to talk about moderation on election day far more than he walks it in office. (he was our State Representative until -- in a major upset -- he was knocked off by David Bly in 2006 by less than 50 votes).

And believe it or not, this race actually matters. The 25th is a competitive district, and a Democratic win would give them a veto-proof majority in the state senate (something Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty does not want to have to deal with).

Yes, I will be updating this race too throughout the night.

Obama Leading by 4% and Opening

***Results as of 8:27 PM***

Senator Barack Obama : 35.25%
Senator John Edwards : 31.02%
Senator Hillary Clinton : 30.78%
Governor Bill Richardson : 1.80%
Senator Joe Biden : 1.01%
Uncommitted : 0.11%
Senator Chris Dodd : 0.03%
Precincts Reporting: 1304 of 1781

Obama's lead has been growing all night. It's hardly over, but the trend lines are looking good for the Illinois Senator.

One of my friends was caucusing in the Bettendorf B21 precinct. It went 2-2-1 Obama/Clinton/Edwards, but Obama was definitely the leader (Clinton got the last delegate as the "middle" candidate). She tells me that her precinct is normally a pretty good bell-weather for the state. Anyway, we'll know for sure soon enough.

While any Iowa winner is going to gain serious momentum going into New Hampshire, Obama might have the most to gain. If he pulls it off, there is going to be a swarm of articles that cause folks to finally start imagining him seriously as President. Via Obsidian Wings.

Iowa College Tracking

Because the Democratic Party's Iowa Caucus website breaks down results in absurd amounts of detail (and is updated literally by the minute), I'm going to track the voting around four small liberal arts colleges (I don't do the big ones because they're in big cities and it's impossible to figure out which precincts actually contain the schools). I don't pretend that this information has any specific use -- I don't know what percentage of caucusers are students in these areas, and even if I did I'm not sure what the implications of their vote would be. But it's interesting nonetheless.

*** Results as of 7:52 Central ***

Central College, Pella, Marion County (2 Clinton, 3 Edwards, 7 Obama)

Cornell College, Mt. Vernon, Linn County (no results yet).

Grinnell College, Grinnell, Poweshiek County (3 Clinton, 6 Edwards, 8 Obama).

Luther College, Decorah, Winneshiek County (2 Clinton, 2 Edwards, 6 Obama)

*** Total Results as of 7:52 Central ***

Senator John Edwards : 32.62%
Senator Hillary Clinton : 32.30%
Senator Barack Obama : 32.30%
Governor Bill Richardson : 1.89%
Senator Joe Biden : 0.75%
Senator Chris Dodd : 0.11%
Uncommitted : 0.04%
Precincts Reporting: 461 of 1781

Can you say razor tight?

Good Cop

Radley Balko points out the inspiring case of Dallas County Prosecutor Craig Watkins. Inheriting a department with a convict-at-all-costs mentality, Watkins aggressively revamped procedures to protect the rights of innocent people and exonerate those wrongfully convicted. Dallas County has the highest exoneration rate in the country now, because Watkins aggressively pursues exoneration claims, where too many attorney's offices actively try and suppress them.

Justice isn't served merely by throwing people in jail. Justice is served by throwing the right people in jail. Watkins remembers that, and he is a force for good in the state of Texas.

Book Jacket Time!

OxBlogger Patrick Porter, reviewing Giuliani adviser Norman Podhoretz's World War IV:
If Kenneth Anderson's writings are the vintage Pinot Noir of the neocon vinyard, Podhoretz's manifesto is the rancid two-dollar Spumante.


Oh Come On!

CNN asks, will Hillary Clinton nominate Bill to the Supreme Court?

Answer: No. Obviously. Nitwits.

This was a ridiculous story to run, even in their political ticker. The only "source" is conservative law professor Doug Kmiec. They apparently have no contacts within the Clinton campaign which even hint that this is being considered. The other legal advisers they contacted reacted essentially with laughter (though they "didn't rule it out entirely!" Where there's smoke, there's fire!). It's a dumb idea for all manner of reasons -- something I say even though I really like Bill Clinton.

Come on people. Isn't there something going on in Iowa you could concentrate on today?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Iran Pressures Argentina Over Bombing Investigation

I haven't been closely following the story of Argentina's continuing investigation into Iran's links to a 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish Community Center. Last I had heard, prosecutors had asked to put out an arrest warrant on former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani and several other top Iranian leaders in connection with the attack, which killed 84 people.

But it appears that the investigation is still live, because Iran is starting to push back. An official Iranian news organ is reporting that their own prosecutors are threatening to lodge a complaint against Argentina with the ICJ. I can't figure out what the grounds for the complaint are other than "attempting to damage international prestige of Iranian government," which (though this may come as a surprise to the Iranian government) I do not believe is a crime outside the state of Iran. International Law professor Julian Ku likewise doesn't know on what the Iranian's are staking their claim, even if the Argentine allegations are false (and there is no particular reason to think that they are).

You'd almost think they were worried about this case receiving more exposure.

Blog Buddies!

In this post, Paul Mirengoff of the right-wing Powerline Blog refers to South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham (R) as "the Arlen Specter of the South". What's bizarre about that is that I can very much imagine any number of liberal blogs referring to Graham in the very same way -- but for very different reasons. Paul presumably groups Graham with Specter as insufficiently conservative Republicans who don't sufficiently lock-step with the prevailing conservative line (his words may vary). Liberals, by contrast, attack Graham and Specter as pretending to truly agonize over issues like torture and indefinite detention before voting to clear every obstacle towards bringing them into being. For being utterly spineless enablers, in other words, of the very projects the Powerliners are angry they are not sufficiently gung-ho about ushering in.

Fascinating contrast, no?

Reality Based Community

I proudly belong to the political party that does not actively revel in being stupid. It is not the Republican Party:
The stupid conservative ... does not look for a higher authority than tradition itself. He is prepared to rest his case simply on traditional authority alone, without seeking to appeal to logic, or reason, or empirical data. For what reason gives, reason can take away.
If traditional marriage needs to be defended by good arguments, then it stands or falls on the validity of these arguments, and where good arguments can be put forward to justify alternative "experiments in living," then the authority of tradition as tradition is overthrown, and whoever comes up with the best argument carries the day. The end result of this process is that intellectuals, trained to be good at arguing, inevitably gain an undue influence in the shaping of public opinion, while those who adhere to traditions simply because they are their tradition are left vulnerable to attack and ridicule because they have difficulty defending positions they have never found cause to question. In such a case, the traditionalist must either abandon his sacred ground, and learn to argue, or else he must be prepared to accept the derogatory label fixed upon him by the intelligentsia. In short, he must not mind too much being called stupid.

In a world that absurdly overrates the advantage of sheer brain power, no one wants to be seen as a member in good standing of the stupid party. Yet stupidity has been and will always remain the best defense mechanism against the ordinary conman and the intellectual dreamer, just as Odysseus found that stuffing cotton in his ears was his best defense against beguiling but fatal song of the sirens.

I gladly cede the terrain to my colleagues on the right, and take pride in valuing sheer brain power to the high degree it deserves.

alicublog via Balloon Juice.

But seriously, is this not terrifying? Even a few years back, as the folks at alicu noted, conservatives at least thought they were the intellectual party. They were wrong, of course, but at least they made motions at respecting intelligence and trying to think through their positions. But over the past few seasons, I've noticed a disturbing trend in which conservatives have adopted an active hostility towards education and critical thought. Certainly, the perverse pride conservatives take in mocking intellectuals and professors is part of the problem, but it's hardly contained itself to the educational sphere. Politically, the anti-intellectual stance emerged in proto-form in George W. Bush, and has reached its full intensity in the Huckabee campaign, which is even frightening some of the right-wing blue bloods (who don't realize he's a beast of their own creation). This is why it is fashionable in some circles to deny global warming -- if the scientists believe it, it must be false. It's a scary trend, and one I am not at all pleased to see hitting full stride.

Tom Lantos Diagnosed With Cancer, Retiring

California Democrat Tom Lantos, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has announced he is retiring after being diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. Lantos was a passionate defender of human rights while serving in the House, and the only Holocaust survivor serving anywhere in Congress. Unsurprisingly, he was a particularly early and vocal Congressional leader on Darfur.

Via Kos, who had been supporting a primary challenge against Lantos due to his relatively hawkish foreign policy views. I hope that, with his impending retirement, we can put aside differences over Iraq and respect his years of public service and his amazing life story (and of course, a full recovery).

Who Dares Attack Chuck Norris?

Though I'm no fan of the candidate, I thought Mike Huckabee's Chuck Norris ad was very, very good. Now, Mitt Romney has his own Chuck Norris ad up. It is, to say the least, no comparison to the original. To say a bit more, it's actually rather pathetic. It has nothing to do with the content -- I just think it's comes off as a ridiculous ad without being funny, or clever, or original, or even "Chuck Norris approved". Really, what's the point?

Via CNN's Political Ticker.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Guess What?

I'm not going to give a blow-by-blow of every admissions decision I get. But I did want to let you know that today, I did get into a law school (the first I've heard back from). So next year, I will, in fact, be attending somewhere.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's Roundup

I'm flying back to Minnesota tomorrow. With the new year upon us, this is probably my last post until 2008. So, hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year's, and I'll see y'all on the flip side!

Kevin Drum reminds the right that just because their feelings towards Clinton are motivated by blind, unthinking rage, doesn't mean her Democratic supporters are inspired by the same sentiments. If anything, the "angry" wing of the Democratic Party is attracted to Edwards (if they're pragmatists) or Kucinich (if they're not).

Frank Pasquale has a simply fantastic post talking about Martha Nussbaum's views on masculinity and political violence -- particularly after the Bhutto assassination. It's really interesting.

Are folks still trying to bank-shot the Obama-is-a-Muslim claim? Daniel Pipes is.

Speaking of dirty campaign tricks, the fake Romney Christmas card that says Mormon's believe God has multiple wives is pretty low. I'm guessing that Huckabee supporters (not the Huckabee campaign) are behind it.

Topless women used to lure men into indecent exposure. This a) isn't entrapment b) isn't a massive waste of time and c) isn't really degrading to the female cop?

Obama makes his closing pitch to younger, undecided voters. In my humble opinion, Obama's campaign lives and dies on whether he can bring to the polls the many, many normally-non-voters who think he is something special. I can very much see him gathering a storm of support based on people who want to seem themselves as a "part of something." I can also see those folks doing what they normally do -- stay home -- and Obama under-performs badly.

Mitt Romney! Wash your mouth out with some soap!

Special girls hockey equipment reifies the false binary: You can be "girly" or "sporty". I have no problem with equipment that is designed for the female physique. I do have a problem with the implication that girls won't play hockey if the sticks don't have polka dots. Though I say that and then wonder -- if folks want a polka dotted stick, why shouldn't it be provided?

Why men (and women!) still will be able to compete with robotic sex.

I don't binge drink, but apparently I shouldn't start for 20 years anyway.

Are Americans blaming Republicans for the fact that Congress hasn't gotten much done this session? They're right if they do, but the average voter is rarely this astute.

Newark Reborn: The Cory Booker legend continues. If this guy isn't a hot prospect, who is? And since my beloved Devils are moving to an arena in town, I might have to stop by and see it for myself.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty continues to raise eyebrows as to whether he's John McCain's VP of choice.

Jed Bartlet endorses Richardson. Toby Ziegler, by contrast, is breaking for Biden.

In Praise of Sakio Bika

In it's countdown of the 20 best fights of 2007, Bad Left Hook rates the Codrington/Bika Contender finale fight #5. About right, I think. But it seems everyone who talks about Bika prefaces it with how this is going to be the high point of his career, he's not really an elite fighter, he's no threat, etc., etc.. BLH put it this way:
Even the show's biggest supporters will admit that neither Bika nor Codrington are likely to become serious contenders in the 168-pound division, let alone champions. After all, Bika's had his shot at Calzaghe, and he lost to Bute, who went on to win a title, too.

Sakio Bika has a record of 25-3-2 (15 KOs). His only unavenged losses are to Joe Calzaghe and to Lucien Bute -- the undisputed #1 and either #2 or #3 guy (depending on where you now put Mikkel Kessler) in the division. People are acting as if this basically exposes him as a club fighter. Excuse me, but if I'm not mistaken nobody has beaten either Calzaghe or Bute. Bika's a former Olympian, has an chin like granite, and a solid punch. While he lost decisively to both Calzaghe and Bute, he certainly wasn't overwhelmed by them. I think folks are being way too harsh.

Bika may never be a champion, but that's more a testament to the depth of the Super Middleweight division and the fact that it is possibly the one division in boxing without a ridiculous amount of title fragmentation. But if you're telling me that Bika wouldn't be a really tough match-up for any of the contending Super Middleweights (Allan Green, Edison Miranda, Jean Pascal, Markus Beyer, -- whom Bika scored a technical draw against), I say you're joking. He's a live name, and folks take him lightly are their own peril.