Saturday, January 19, 2008

It's Vegas, Baby!

From The Washington Post's coverage of the Nevada caucuses:
Early entrance polling showed Clinton leading among women, older voters and those who prized experience while Obama held an advantage among black voters and those who valued a need for chance, according to the Associated Press.

Barack Obama: You feeling lucky, punk?

Also, with only 39 precincts left to report (out of nearly 1,800), it looks as if Ron Paul will take second place in Nevada, narrowly edging out John McCain. Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee likewise looks like he'll barely beat Fred Thompson for fourth.

Racism ftw!

Go Ron Paul!

Let's recap: Major Ron Paul related news since Michigan? He is, if not himself a racist, tied to a huge network of White Supremacists. Results in the first caucus since Michigan? Ron Paul locked in a dogfight for second place with John McCain.

Anything that causes more chaos in the GOP primary is alright with me.

Go scary racist White dude! Take second in Nevada!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Boxing Blogging: FNF 1/18/08

It was a night of knockouts in Key West, Florida. All four televised bouts ended under the distance, and we also saw the retirement of former IBF Cruiserweight Champion and Friday Night Fights staple Kelvin "Koncrete" Davis.

Also quickly, before we recap the action, Brian Kenny announced in studio that Season Three Contender Champ Sakio Bika will be returning to face former Super Middleweight title challenger Librado Andrade. This is a great fight. Both guys have granite chins, both guys are in The Ring's top ten rankings at 168 lbs. (Andrade at 5th and Bika at 8th), and both guys can fight. Andrade's only loss is to Mikkel Kessler, and Bika's only losses are to consensus Super Middleweight champ Joe Calzaghe, now-titlist Lucien Bute, and an early and since avenged loss to the dangerous Sam Soliman. Though I like Bika, I have to favor Andrade in this fight, but in a battle between two experienced warriors who have never been knocked out, anything is possible.

Randall Bailey (36-6, 33 KOs) TKO5 Anthony Mora (15-2, 10 KOs)

Bailey, in his first fight back after losing a controversial split-decision against Herman Ngoudjo, squared off against six-foot tall Anthony Mora, back after a 22-month layoff following his first loss, a knockout by the fists of Rustam Nugaev. Bailey is an explosive power-puncher, and while he got the expected knockout with a vicious right hand, he spent a bit too much time searching for it and not enough time sticking to the fundamentals. If he boxes against Paulie Malignaggi, who he's been calling out, the way he fought tonight -- wild, looping, and sans the jab -- he'll get picked apart. But then again, as Bailey demonstrated tonight, he's got that great equalizer -- dynamite fists.

As for Mora, from pre-fight chatter there were questions about whether he really wanted to be in the ring tonight, and two straight knockout losses certainly aren't encouraging for a fighter contemplating retirement. If he does keep going, he desperately needs some cream-puff fights to build his confidence back up, because it was not in display tonight.

Ed Paredes (18-2, 11 KOs) TKO5 Cesar Vega (10-13, 2 KOs)

No surprise in the ending here, as Paredes is just on a different level from Vega and throughly out-classed him all evening. Vega was game, active, and throwing punches all evening, but didn't have the skills to really threaten Paredes at any point. Indeed, while in the first round Paredes looked a bit surprised by Vega's aggression, he quickly settled down and took control with patient, effective punching.

Credit to Paredes for doing what he needed to do, but this fight doesn't tell us anything. Paredes has still never really stepped up his competition (including his two losses), and I'm not persuaded as to his ability to hang with the top dogs based on tonights performance.

Eric Fields (11-0, 9 KOs) TKO1 Kelvin Davis (24-8-2, 17 KOs)

Fields, on the other hand, really put on a show in his brief appearance tonight. Yes, Davis had lost three straight coming into tonight, albeit all against good opposition. And yes, Davis had suffered a broken neck and back in a freak training accident, and was probably not at full strength. But you know what? It still takes some serious power to blitz him the way Fields did. And when Fields hurt Davis the way he did, he showed great instincts in finishing the former titleholder off. He sat down on his punches, but more importantly threw them tight and controlled. He wasn't overanxious, flailing for the knockout. It feels odd to talk about patience in the context of a first round knockout, but that's what I saw, and he got the knockout. Fields still needs some more fights before I'd put him in any title talks, but he's got the power, the skills, and the instincts to really run in this division.

Davis, for his part, announced his retirement after this fight. I think it's the right move. He's now lost four straight fights, he said himself he's more worried about getting hurt in the ring than he is worried about beating his opponents, and his body clearly isn't what it was prior to the accident. He's given us some great fights, and I wish him a happy and enjoyable retirement.

Danie Von Staden (6-3, 4 KOs) TKO1 Damian Tinker (3-2, 1 KO)

What are the odds that I'd have seen a 6-3 fighter before on live television? But this is, in fact, the second time I'd watched Von Staden, the first being a decision loss to Alex Brenes, also in Key West, also on a Randall Bailey undercard. Things turned out better for the home-town favorite Von Staden this time, as he landed a solid uppercut to knockout Tinker and delight the fans. It was actually a solid round of action, with both guys hurting each other before Von Staden closed the show.

Neither one of these dudes is going anywhere, but that's okay. Most boxers aren't title challengers. They ply their trade on undercards, do the best they can, and try and entertain the fans. That's perfectly fine, and tonight, it made for a successful end to a solid FNF card.

Friday Round-up: Shabbat Shalom!

I'm taking a friend to Carleton's Shabbat services tonight (she's Jewish, but very non-religious and has always been too intimidated to learn more). So instead of posts, roundup!

Steve Benen: Although the Romney campaign may not like it, it's a good thing when reporters call out candidates on lying.

That being said, and though I'm no fan of "Multiple Choice Mitt", Ezra Klein fairly notes that the media seems to harbor a loathing of him that borders on irrational. Certainly, if they applied the same standards to, say, John McCain, their whole world would implode.

Eric Muller, perhaps the nation's foremost expert on Japanese Internment, is worried that Korematsu is being rehabilitated.

Keith Olbermann made a mistake on air. So he apologized. In today's media environment, that's actually news in of itself.

Speaking of media apologies, Chris Matthews gave at least a quasi-apology to some of his sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton. Feministing's Ann is skeptical but seems willing to put him on probation.

This is nearly two years old, but I only found it now: The new media image of masculinity encourages men to be boys.

The WaPo's Fix Blog has it's latest edition of The Line up. Of the top 10 Senate seats most likely to change parties, nine are GOP held. Ditto in the House.

If you're interested in what legal scholarship has caught my eye, the fourth volume of David's J.L. & Cool Stuff is online at First Movers.

Ethan Leib offers his thoughts on an event focusing on Randall Kennedy's new book, Sellout, "about people (presumably minorities or other non-white-hetero-males) that become enemies of their own people." Kennedy came to Carleton last year to talk about this project, but tragically, it was not quite the positive experience Leib appeared to enjoy.

And finally, Crotchety old lady one, ass-hole zero:

No Secret Service Agent is an Island

I don't have much to comment on the story, summarized by Steve Benen, regarding a man's lawsuit for against the Secret Service for illegally arresting him after he confronted Dick Cheney, then covering it up. But I thought one part was amusing:
The agent who made the arrest, Virgil D. Reichle Jr., said in a deposition that he was left hanging with an untenable arrest because two agents assigned to the vice president had at first agreed with a Denver agent that there had been assault on Mr. Cheney by Mr. Howards, then changed their stories to say that no assault had occurred.
Mr. McLaughlin said Mr. Reichle, who has since been transferred to Guam, asked him in a call several hours after the encounter to say that there had been an assault to bolster justification for the arrest.

Emphasis added.

Now, I want to stress that there is no reason to think that this is punitive (indeed, the essence of the story is that both sets of Secret Service agents are claiming the others are lying, so it's difficult to know who are the "good guys"). Indeed, I can very much imagine Guam being considered quite a cushy job.

But there something tickling -- if only in a purely literary sense -- about reading a report about a scandal involving this administration where a key player appears to have been summarily banished to a remote island.

Popping Dissertations

How a sociologist became a gang leader for a day. I wish I had time to pick it up, because it sounds absolutely fascinating.

Popping Dissertations

How a sociologist became a gang leader for a day. I wish I had time to pick it up, because it sounds absolutely fascinating.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Quote of the Evening

"[A]nti-Semitism is like alcoholism. You can go for 25 years without a drink, but if things go bad and you find yourself with a vodka in your hand, you can’t get rid of it."

--Iain Pears

The quote is from the International Herald Tribune on August 11th, 2003, but I found it in this Dissent article by Mitchell Cohen: "Anti-Semitism and the Left that Doesn't Learn."

Even if anti-Semitism is in remission in some places in the world, that doesn't mean we've kicked the habit. As we've seen, the age-old prejudice has its own regenerative abilities that allow it to come roaring back after prolonged (supposed) absence.

Black and Latina? Slow Down!

I've made this mistake myself, so I don't absolve myself, but this is a timely and well-needed reminder by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez not to automatically separate Black and Latino. When we ponder uncritically about whether Latinos will vote for a Black President, we forget that many Latinos are Black. Most members of the "African diaspora", as the author puts it, live south of the United States. The largest immigrant group in New York City is the Dominicans, the vast majority of whom are Black. Many things we associate with Latino culture, from Salsa dancing to "La Bamba", have their roots in Afro-Caribbean culture, and prior to that, Africa.

There probably is some tension between non-Black Latinos and non-Latino Blacks. And that's worth exploring. But Latinos and Blacks are not mutually exclusive categories. And insofar as I've forgotten that, I apologize.

H/T: Jill

The Hell?

Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), representing a suburban district near the Twin Cities, shows that she isn't the brightest bulb in the ceiling:
I am so proud to be from the state of Minnesota. We’re the workingest [sic] state in the country, and the reason why we are, we have more people that are working longer hours, we have people that are working two jobs.

Yay! I'm so proud to live here right now.


Hillary Clinton plays flight attendant on "Hill Force One". It's actually pretty funny:
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and welcome aboard the maiden flight of Hill Force One. My name is Hillary and I am so pleased to have most of you on board,” Clinton said over the loud speaker of a chartered 737. “FAA regulations prohibit the use of any cell phones, BlackBerries, or wireless devices that may be used to transmit a negative story about me.”


“In a few minutes, I am going to switch off the ‘fasten your seat belt sign.’ However, I’ve learned lately that things can get awfully bumpy when you least expect it — so you might want to keep those seatbelts fastened,” she said, surprising the members of national print and broadcast media on board who at first thought a flight attendant was imitating the typically serious presidential candidate.

“And in the event of an unexpected drop in poll numbers, this plane will be diverted to New Hampshire,” Clinton said, referring to her recent primary victory. “If you look out from the right, you will see an America saddled with tax cuts for the wealthiest and a war without end. If you look out from the left, you will see an America with a strong middle class at home and a strong reputation in the world.”


Before she passed the mike over to the professionals to give safety announcements, she signed off saying, “Once again, thank you for joining us on Hill Force One. We know you have choices when you fly, and so we are grateful that you chose the plane with the most experienced candidate.”

The story ran on the Wall Street Journal's website, so of course the first three comments implied that a flight attendant was the only job she was qualified for, that she was mocking flight attendants, and that she was advocating political censorship with her "blackberry" remark. Some people have no sense of humor....

Not Even if Clinton Were Running!

Stephen Bainbridge gives Mike Huckabee the ultimate insult: casting him onto his "personal list of candidates for whom I would not vote even if the only alternative is Hillary Clinton (in which case I’ll just sit home and complain)." He joins Mitt Romney in this Republican equivalent of hell.

This is particularly interesting because Prof. Bainbridge is at least somewhat of a social conservative. Then again, he's specifically a Catholic social conservative, and we know they're not Huckabee's strong suit.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Popular outrage over auxilary police beating to death a citizen journalist who was taking pictures of them beating yet other Chinese citizens appears to have motivated the Chinese government to action. The story has raced around Chinese blogs and news sites, and led to at least one official being fired and dozens more under investigation.

This is not the first article I've read along these lines regarding events in China, and it appears that they do at least exert some impact on real-life policy. It seems that the Chinese citizenry is beginning to flex some real muscle in terms of liberalizing their country. It's slow and unstable, and thus far it hasn't put true democracy on the table, but it's real.

Head Scratchers

Interesting digression in class today. We were in small groups taking about whether we, if we were residents of America in the late 18th century, should have voted to ratify the constitution. I pointed out that at least some members of the group didn't have the right to vote at all.

"Yeah," said one, "because I'm a woman, I couldn't vote at all."

A guy responded, "and half of me couldn't vote." The professor raised an eyebrow and asked "are you half woman?"

"No, I'm half Black."


"Though, I guess I'm half woman also."

I never thought of it that way, but he's right, isn't he?


In other news of the bizarre, the unnamed law school which admitted me on January 1st, sent me a nice email today, January 16th, informing me that they've received my application and I should expect a decision by April. I'm on the edge of my seat.

Also, neighboring law school of already-admitted U asked to see my fall term grades. This isn't an unreasonable request, except that they already have my fall term grades. I didn't submit my application until my fall term grades were available. If they have any grades at all, said grades include my fall term grades. I sent them a polite-but-puzzled email to that effect, and am waiting for a response.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Noting her unique talent for convincing high-profile Republicans to switch to the side of the light, Ezra Klein pitches Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as a good VP candidate for Barack Obama. The change motif, the ability to latch on to disaffected moderate Republicans uncomfortable with their party's extreme lurch to the right (e.g., Kathryn Lopez's remark that John McCain's opposition to waterboarding means he's "not one of us"), her status as a female governor from a state not generally seen as Democratic territory, all would synergize very well with an Obama campaign.

All good points, and perhaps controlling. But I do still worry about the narrative it will inevitably create if Barack Obama picks a female running mate. It doesn't matter that Sebelius is supremely qualified, fits well with Obama's message, and tactically comes from a region of the country that balances Obama's ticket (the plains states won't be competitive even with Sebelius on the ballot, but it's important to have a VP candidate that doesn't hail from a deep blue Democratic metropolis). Inevitably, it will be seen as pandering to the female vote which was scorned by Obama defeating Clinton; an "affirmative action" pick.

But then, the more coverage like that we see, the more satisfying it will be when we beat it.

Obama and Farrakhan

Black political leader Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) once made an interesting remark on Louis Farrakhan. Asked to repudiate some idiotic thing that the Nation of Islam leader said, Rangel responded that the statement in question was "garbage", but at the same time, argued that Black Americans should not "have to carry around their last statement refuting Farrakhan." In other words, the facial assumption should not be that Black leaders must positively disassociate themselves from the clergyman. At the very least, some indication of connection or sympathy to the man should be demonstrated first. Henry Farrell argues that "it’s an implicit double standard, under which black politicians have a higher hurdle to jump before they deserve public trust than white ones," and questions why, say, Hillary Clinton isn't subjected to whispers about her anti-Semitism from the media because she met with Billy Graham.

The topic comes up in reference to a Richard Cohen editorially saying that Obama needs to forcefully condemn his pastor and spiritual adviser, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., for giving an award in his magazine to Rev. Farrakhan. As David Bernstein points out, the praise was not in passing or even limited to the arguably positive elements of Farrakhan's agenda; rather, it was quite comprehensive and universal. And Dr. Wright, for his part, is no minor player in Obama's life -- indeed, Obama himself has continually stressed his pastor's role in his personal faith journey and his religious and political commitments.

So while there might be a little Kevin Bacon going on here, I don't think Obama necessarily deserves a pass. For one, while some folks are trying to stretch the chain of connection Obama (as Steve Benen put it, "Obama has a personal 'obligation to speak out' ... because his church’s pastor’s daughter’s magazine said something complementary about Farrakhan."), the link really isn't all that attenuated: Wright himself directly complimented Farrakhan in the following words:
“When Minister Farrakhan speaks, Black America listens,” says the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, likening the Minister’s influence to the E. F. Hutton commercials of old. “Everybody may not agree with him, but they listen…His depth on analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye opening. He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest.

“Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African American religious experience,” continues Wright. “His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation’s most powerful critics. His love for Africa and African American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere
about his faith and his purpose.”

And again, Wright is not just Obama's pastor, he's a key member of Obama's circle.

Obama's campaign has already clarified that he disagrees with Wright on this issue. That's good to know, although not particularly surprising -- nobody seriously thought Obama shared Wright's views on Farrakhan. But is that sufficient? I don't know. On the one hand, I'd like a more forceful repudiation, and I don't find the Kevin Bacon defense persuasive here. Here's Obama's statement on the matter:
I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree.

The reason I don't quite find this enough is twofold; first, because "not a decision with which I agree" is very tame language, and second, because Trumpet Magazine and Rev. Wright's praise for Farrakhan seemed to explicitly go directly beyond his work on ex-offenders.

On the other hand, it's hard for me to put a finger on what I want beyond the secure knowledge that Obama doesn't believe Farrakhan is a good dude and won't act on the belief that he is, and I already have that. And it's not like media critics are falling over themselves to condemn GOP candidates (outside cranks like Ron Paul), or even other Democratic candidates, for their connections to anti-Semitic religious extremists. Farrell's point about the double-standard remains well taken, and I'm not sure what the practical implications of that should be. And as my TMV co-blogger T-Steel aptly reminds us, anyone who thinks that radical Black nationalism or the Nation of Islam will have any meaningful influence in a hypothetical Obama administration is delusional. So isn't this just a tempest in a teacup?

UPDATE: Ed is more defensive of Obama than I am? Man the barricades, I smell apocalypse.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Appalachia Ho!

Whenever I talk about racism as a structural phenomenon that disadvantages Black people regardless of class, Appalachia is brought up. Presumably, the point is that White people can struggle too. I'm not sure what that's supposed to prove -- that A --> X doesn't mean that B -/-> X. There are poor White people in Appalachia. They face many disadvantages, most of which would be defended to the death as capitalism-in-motion if the point wasn't to discredit Black people. And some of those same Appalachians have lived their lives and can still conceptualize that, their own disadvantage notwithstanding, racism still operates in America in ways wholly distinct from their own problems.

Appalachia also is trotted out because (to risk the ire of Ambrose Bierce), it is the exception that proves the rule. I am reminded of an SNL skit summarized by Tim Wise:
The lack of symmetry between a word like honky and a slur such as “nigger” was made apparent in an old Saturday Night Live skit, with Chevy Chase and guest, Richard Pryor.

In the skit, Chase and Pryor face one another and trade off racial epithets during a segment of Weekend Update. Chase calls Pryor a “porch monkey.” Pryor responds with “honky.” Chase ups the ante with “jungle bunny.” Pryor, unable to counter with a more vicious slur against whites, responds with “honky, honky.” Chase then trumps all previous slurs with “nigger,” to which Pryor responds: “dead honky.”

The line elicits laughs all around, but also makes clear, at least implicitly that when it comes to racial antilocution, people of color are limited in the repertoire of slurs they can use against whites, and even the ones of which they can avail themselves sound more comic than hateful. The impact of hearing the antiblack slurs in the skit was of a magnitude unparalleled by hearing Pryor say “honky” over and over again.

I could list off all manner of places and locales where Black Americans struggle under the weight of disadvantage. Indeed, I could list any place in America where Black people live (which, it bears mentioning, includes Appalachia), but to be more specific, Anacostia, DC and South Bronx, NY (Urban), Prince George's County, MD (Suburban), and Wilkinson County, MS (Rural). If I mention disadvantage in PG County, it's met with the cry of "Appalachia!" Anacostia? Appalachia! Rural Mississippi? Appalachia! It's a one trick pony, and one that presumes that social scientists are morons to boot. Do these people really think that researchers simply forget the existence of Appalachia when documenting continued racial disparity and discrimination? Indeed, in some ways Appalachia proves the opposite point -- I've seen no indication that the 10% or so Black population in Appalachia is any better off than their White peers. Even in the paradigmatic case of White deprivation, odds are Blacks have them beat on their own turf. Compare that to, say, how Blacks and Whites match-up in New York City, or the DC metro area, or the Mississippi delta.

Wise continues to note that, even when comparing Appalachia to Black people who are nominally "better off", poor Whites still hold advantages:
Poor whites are rarely typified as pathological, dangerous, lazy or shiftless the way poor blacks are, for example. Nor are they demonized the way poor Latino/a immigrants tend to be.

When politicians want to scapegoat welfare recipients they don’t pick Bubba and Crystal from some Appalachian trailer park; they choose Shawonda Jefferson from the Robert Taylor Homes, with her seven children.

And according to reports from a number of states, ever since so-called welfare reform, white recipients have been treated far better by caseworkers, are less likely to be bumped off the rolls for presumed failure to comply with new regulations, and have been given far more assistance at finding new jobs than their black or brown counterparts.

Poor whites are more likely to have a job, tend to earn more than poor people of color, and are even more likely to own their own home. Indeed, whites with incomes under $13,000 annually are more likely to own their own home than blacks with incomes that are three times higher due to having inherited property.

None of this is to say that poor whites aren’t being screwed eight ways to Sunday by an economic system that relies on their immiseration: they are. But they nonetheless retain a certain “one-up” on equally poor or even somewhat better off people of color thanks to racism.

This isn't to say that race always trumps class. No amount of money can buy off racism, but it can mitigate its effects to the point that they're not as severe a burden as extreme economic deprivation. But race always is in play, no matter how rich or poor you are, and White people are its beneficiaries, no matter how poor they are. Ronald Reagan's "Welfare Queen" was explicit racial imagery. It didn't attack poor people, it attacked poor Black people. Poor Whites (in Appalachia) simply never were attached with the same scorn and opprobrium that their Black classmates took on. The drug war doesn't target meth abuse among White Appalachians. It buries Black crack users in Mott Haven. Appalachians do get screwed in America. But they don't get screwed on account of race. Insofar as race plays into their treatment and social perception, they're advantaged. Which is why shouting "Appalachia!" doesn't cut it as a response to race-based disparity in America today.

Off-the-Cuff Clinton

Hillary Clinton is viewed with wariness by many Democratic voters, because, to quote Robert Farley, "Hillary's reputation is farther left than her policies." But at the same time, I think her instincts are more progressive than her tightly controlled political persona indicates. Consider this off the cuff remark at a Nevada rally that's ignited a firestorm on the right:
Answering a shout from a man in the crowd who said, "I'm married to an illegal woman," Clinton shot back, "No woman is illegal," grinning as the packed Mexican restaurant at which she was speaking exploded in cheers.

That comment, reported in Friday's Review-Journal, caught the attention of the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs and the Drudge Report and led to nearly 1,000 angry comments on the newspaper's Web site.

To put the remark into context, Clinton did add, after a pause, "... and no man, either." She then explained her position on immigration.

That's not the type of statement you expect to hear from Clinton. It's not just that it's unabashedly progressive. It's also aggressive -- her words were guaranteed to prick the skin of any conservative within earshot. Clinton certainly is no stranger to raging conservative, but rarely does she directly provoke the controversy. I doubt she was planning on doing so here -- but she made an instinctive response, and it was more combative and more liberal than we've come to expect from her.

Is it a good political move? I have no idea. But I like the instincts it shows.

"Catch this guy on the right day, and he's Che Freakin' Guevera"

Why Michigan Democrats should vote Mitt Romney:

Star Wars Guide to the Candidates

Funny...and surprisingly accurate.

Via Balloon Juice

The "First" Black President

BlackProf contributor and UMD Law Professor Sherrilyn Ifill has a great post up on the nation's "first Black President", Bill Clinton, and his work derailing the campaign of the man who might become the actual First Black President, Barack Obama.

But what I actually liked most was her description of why Clinton was given the title (ironically, but still somewhat substantively) by Toni Morrison in the first place:
When Toni Morrison called Bill Clinton “the first black president,” I knew what she meant. He had a kind of swagger, a kind of personal charisma and (in comparison to the other candidates on the ticket in 1992) a kind of “hip-ness” that smacked of negritude. Hanging out with Vernon Jordan, having power breakfasts with Ron Brown, clappin’ on beat with the choirs at black churches, Bill seemed like he could really hang. Even more telling, white conservatives hated him like they’d hate a black president. They disrespected him like they would a black president, virtually going through the man’s garbage looking for dirt. And they were obsessed by and jealous of Bill’s sexuality, just as white men have historically been obsessed by the sexuality and prowess of black men.

The last part is telling. Another Blackprof contributor, GW Law Professor Paul Butler, once wrote an article based along similar themes. Starr is to Clinton as Regular Prosecutors are to Blacks [40 B.C. L. Rev. 705 (1999)] tried to analogize the experience many Black people have with our legal system to President Clinton's situation. It's not that Black people don't commit crimes. It's that they feel like the system is out to get them in ways that stretch way beyond the principles of justice, accountability, culpability, or fairness. They sympathize with Bill Clinton because he seems to, in some small way, engender that same disregard for basic dignity and fairness that they too face as a matter of course.

Yoo Know It's True

With regards to the aforementioned suit by Jose Padilla and his mother against former White House attorney John Yoo, Balkinization's David Luban has a fantastic rundown of the legal issues in question.

Nickel version: it's complex, but the WSJ was wrong (and at least a little disingenuous) to simply dismiss the legal merits of Padilla's case out of hand.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Word of the Day

"Chrestomathy", from the Dallas Morning News' description of Ron Paul's "bigot-grams" as "a crackpot chrestomathy of extreme right-wing conspiracy raving." Chrestomathy, as James Kirchik looked up, is defined as "a collection of selected literary passages, often by one author and esp. from a foreign language."

Thank me when you take your GREs or SATs.