Wednesday, February 28, 2007

THE SURNAME of embattled Durham DA Mike Nifong appears poised to go down in legal history:

Early this month, he was adversely mentioned in rulings from two out of 12 U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, with one judge alluding to him as a prosecutor "run amok" because of the felony indictments he obtained from a grand jury last year against three Duke lacrosse players.

Lawyers view the development as highly significant, since federal appellate courts are at the pinnacle of American jurisprudence, falling immediately below the U.S. Supreme Court in the overall scheme of things.

"I am not aware of any other case from the circuit courts that single out a prosecutor by name to exemplify prosecutorial misconduct," veteran attorney Bill Thomas said Friday. "It is an extremely unusual circumstance. I have never seen it done before in my career of more than 25 years."
But there's no such thing as bad publicity, right?

Link via KC Johnson, who also points out that ex-Edwards blogger Amanda Marcotte continues to rage against the Duke lacrosse players.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I KEEP SEEING an ad on TV for, which appears to be a web portal for people 50 and older. The man in the ad (who looks about 40) stands in front of a picture of the homepage and points to all the great categories in tabs at the top of the page – "fun," "love," "money," "travel" – but there's an interesting one he doesn't call attention to: "obits."

I suppose one day I'll be as interested in obits as I am now in wedding announcements. I was thinking about this the other day as I browsed through the class notes section of my law school alumni magazine. The more recent years are full of pictures of weddings and babies, and the older ones have lots of fond reminiscences about people who've lived full lives and recently passed away. (Interestingly, I never read much of the in-between years, which tend to be about people hopping from law firm to law firm and attending political functions.)
I HAVEN'T BLOGGED much about the joys of living in the South,* but there are many. One of the best so far is February afternoon walks in short sleeves. There are already plenty of blooming things along my suburban route. I'm getting the feeling that March in Alabama is going to be delightful, rather than the seasonal tease that it is in the Mid-Atlantic.

In other regional news, I made collard greens last night. They were not well received.

*Having spent all but three years of my life in Virginia or North Carolina, I thought I was already something of a Southerner. Down here, however, I've been told firmly that I'm nothing more than a Yankee.
DEAN BARNETT looks at the angry left's take on the failed attempt to kill the Vice President of the United States:

“Geoman 77” (if that’s his real name) opines, “Cheney's spokeswoman said he was fine. F**k.”

“Fantanfanny” shows some carefully calibrated outrage: “So Cheney is personally responsible for the deaths of 14 innocent people...and then he waddles off to lunch!! What a piece of s**t!”

“Irual” shows his/her/its outrage by using a lot of exclamation points: “To (sic) bad they missed!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“TBD” shows the kind of plucky optimism that made America great: “Better luck next time!”

“Pakiman47” waxes wistful: “What a different world we would be living in today if they had succeeded.”

“Jazzman” sees the same parallel: “Isn't this the moral dilemma that Deitrich Bonheoffer found himself in when he chose to join a plot to assasinate (sic) Hitler. If we know that Cheney is plotting to light up the entire Middle East region by instigating an attack on Iran, if we know he is lying to do so, if we know that he is launching these wars to line the pockets of his corporate friends, and establish hegemony around the globe, if we know that he intends to hijack civil liberties and destroy constitutional government in this country, should we cheer if someone could stop him before hand?”
Mark Steyn responds to that last one: "What? All you’re going to do is cheer? If he’s intending to "destroy constitutional government in this country", shouldn’t you get off your big Huff duff and join in, you lazy old armchair insurgent? What are you, a chickenhawk conspiracist?"
Lyric of the Day:
"You make me feel light on the stairs, and lost in the air of a love so real..."
~ Jefferson Starship, "Count On Me"

Happy Birthday:
Mario Andretti
Linus Pauling
Bernadette Peters

Monday, February 26, 2007

THIS IS A PRETTY FUNNY commentary on the John Edwards blogger mess. Warning: much profanity.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Quote of the Day:
"The road to hell is paved with adverbs."
~ Stephen King

Song of the Day:
Badly Drawn Boy, "Something To Talk About"

Happy Birthday:
Ansel Adems
Robert Altman
Charles Barkley
Kurt Cobain
Cindy Crawford
Patty Hearst
Sidney Poitier
Ivana Trump
Gloria Vanderbilt

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Quote of the Day:
"Hysteria is only possible with an audience."
~ Chuck Palahniuk

Song of the Day:
The Shangri-Las, "Leader of the Pack"

Happy Birthday:
Justine Bateman
Smokey Robinson
MEGHAN O'ROURKE defends hookup culture in Slate:

[I]t isn't that young women are separating love and sex. It's that they are blurring sex and work: The hookup culture is part of a wider ethos of status-seeking achievement. As one girl puts it: "Dating is a drain on energy and intellect, and we are overwhelmed, overprogrammed and overcommitted just trying to get into grad school." So they throw themselves into erotic liaisons with the same competitive zeal they bring to résumé-building.... The combination of postfeminist liberation and pressure from parents to "do it all"—as one kid puts it—has led girls to confuse the need to be independent (which they associate with success) with the need to be invulnerable. Thus, they frame their seemingly explorative sex lives in rigid, instrumental terms, believing that vulnerability of any sort signals a confusing dependence.
The book O'Rourke is reviewing, Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both by Laura Session Stepp, is based heavily on studies of two universities: Duke and George Washington.
CONCERNING THE Matt Leinart and Tom Brady baby-mama-dramas, ESPN's Page 2 wants to know what's going on in the NFL:

Does ESPN The Magazine need to do a Where's (White) Daddy cover story? [In 1998, Sports Illustrated had a cover story about athletes having babies out of wedlock and that feature focused predominantly on black athletes.] Do white NFL quarterbacks now represent the new at-risk baby-daddy population?

For so long, baby mamas and illegitimate children were stereotyped as problems only associated with black athletes. But this proves that ghetto-fabulousness knows no color.
The Boston Herald urges Brady to "make the right call" in order to preserve his good image -- and his $9 million a year in endorsements.
THE PRESIDENT addresses the nation on the 1/2 Hour News Hour. Not terribly funny in my opinion, but then again, neither is Stephen Colbert. (Except for the eagle that comes down at screeches at the end of the intro -- I laugh at that eagle every time.)
GRACELESS: KC Johnson methodically examines the conduct of the repellant Nancy Grace during the Duke lacrosse controversy.

He also links to this SNL skit, where Grace tells the Duke lacrosse players: "Congratulations. It looks like you've won this round, what with your daddies' money, and your high-priced lawyers, and your not having done the things you were accused of... but I'm not finished with you yet."

Saturday, February 17, 2007

WHY YOU SHOULDN'T tell your kids they're smart.

Friday, February 16, 2007

WE'VE BEEN HAVING a running debate in our household about which Grey's Anatomy character is the most annoying. For me it has always been Bailey ("a 21st century 'Mammy'"), but as of last night I think Izzie has claimed the title:

"People die in front of us everyday. But I believe Meredith will survive this. I believe, I believe, I... I believe in the good. [snip] I believe a lot of things. I believe that... I believe that Denny is always with me... [snip] And I believe that you are a man that made a terrible mistake marrying Callie and I believe that because I'm your best friend I can tell you this and we can be okay. I believe that even though you made this mistake you will be okay. [!!!] I believe we survive, George. I believe that believing we survive... is what makes us survive."
Good grief.

In other completely trivial news, I made a nice dinner for Valentine's Day: boeuf bourguignon (it's classier when you spell it that way), rosemary polenta (recipe from Barefoot Contessa), broccoli with sun-dried tomatoes, and mini chocolate cherry tarts. The tarts were not very good, but I was pleased with how the other things turned out.
WE HEAR THAT Coach K. has a new team philosophy.

As long as he ditches the slowdown offense...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Quote of the Day:
"The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes."
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

Song of the Day:
The Five Stairsteps, "O-o-h Child"

Happy Birthday:
Mia Farrow
William Henry Harrison
Joe Pesci
Mina Suvari

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I HAVEN'T BEEN following the flap over the anti-Catholic comments made by some bloggers working on John Edwards' campaign (it appears that the comments were made on their personal blogs before they began working for Edwards).

This WP piece summarizes the controversy, but nowhere in the article will you find quotes or even close paraphrases of the supposedly offensive statements by the bloggers. It just says vaguely that they "criticized the church's opposition to homosexuality, abortion and contraception, sometimes using profanity."

What you will find in the final paragraph are direct quotes from Bill Donohue, president of The Catholic League and the bloggers' chief critic. The author, Nedra Pickler, gives Donohue a rhetorical slap on the wrist for using "blunt language" himself (he called the bloggers "brats" and said that Hollywood is controlled by "Secular Jews who hate Christianity").

So Donohue's "blunt language" is on display for us to judge, but not the comments by the lefty bloggers that are the root of the whole controversy. It seems to me that Pickler is inviting readers to conclude that the pot is calling the kettle black, but not giving us any opportunity to judge for ourselves how black the kettle is.

UPDATE: The kettle is pretty black. See here. And note also that it's possible to convey the content and tone of the comments in a manner fit for a family newspaper; the NYT managed to do exactly that:

Ms. Marcotte wrote in December that the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to the use of contraception forced women “to bear more tithing Catholics.” In another posting last year, she used vulgar language to describe the church doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Vulgar, or merely "blunt language"? You make the call.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

YOU ARE HEREBY on notice that it is not nice to call a black person "articulate." I think most of my generation already knows this.

My question: when are sports announcers going to stop using "athletic" as a synonym for "black"? If you hear Billy Packer or Troy Aikman referring to an athlete's, um, "athleticism," it's almost a given that the person they're talking about will be African-American (or African). Case in point: Before Sunday's Duke versus Florida State basketball game, one of the announcers referred to how Coach K. had altered Duke's starting lineup because he wanted "more athleticism" to match up with Florida State's starting five. Just as we were joking that he must be really saying that Coach K. wanted a "blacker" team, we see on the screen that Gerald Henderson, an African-American player, is replacing Jon Scheyer, a white player.*

Of course, this is different from the articulate label in that there's no probably no implication that black people typically aren't athletic; indeed, it's almost certainly the reverse: The idea is that this person's athletic ability is closely associated with his blackness. (In basketball, white guys are stereotypically "great shooters" with "good basketball IQ," implying hard work and study.) It's a more subtle expression of the same stereotype that Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder was fired for airing overtly.

*Yes, I concede that Gerald Henderson probably is more athletic (whatever that means) than Jon Scheyer, who is a skinny white dude. But Henderson, the son of a former NBA player, also likely has tons of basketball IQ and other talents that could be more precisely described if commentators weren't so quick to settle on the A-word.

Monday, February 05, 2007

GOOD MORNING, Mickey Kaus: The WP has an article illustrating how immigration can hurt black Americans.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Quote of the Day:
"Sometimes I get the feeling the whole world is against me, but deep down I know that's not true. Some smaller countries are neutral."
~ Robert Orben

Song of the Day:
Dionne Warwick, "Heartbreaker"

Happy Birthday:
Christie Brinkley
James Joyce
Graham Nash
Ayn Rand

Thursday, February 01, 2007

THANKS TO A 2005 ACT of Congress, we'll be springing forward a little earlier this year, and falling back a little later. Winners: candymakers and the environment. Losers: airlines and people trying to schedule meetings using Microsoft products.
SCHOOL CHOICE OPPONENTS are headed back to court to attempt to stop a program that gives tax credits in exchange for donations that enable children to attend private schools. Good luck, says George Will:

Doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting different results is a sign of insanity, but what really defines the plaintiffs is banality. This is about the control of schools by bureaucrats, about work rules negotiated by unions and, not least, about money -- not allowing any to flow away from the usual channels.

The public school lobby, which apparently has little confidence in its product, lives in fear of competition -- the fear that if parents' choices are expanded, there will be a flight from public schools. But the tide is turning...
Newark mayor Cory Booker has proposed a plan for New Jersey that is similar to Arizona's.
Quote of the Day:
"You can only be young once. But you can always be immature."
~ Dave Barry

Song of the Day:
Bryan White, "Someone Else's Star"

Happy Birthday:
Clark Gable
Langston Hughes
Brandon Lee
Lisa Marie Presley
Boris Yeltsin