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Archive for November, 2004

Only The Canadians Could Make Spousal Abuse Funny

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

Domestic violence is no laughing matter. So why do I find myself becoming incontinent while watching these ultra brutal anti-domestic violence PSAs from the Great White North? Am I an asshole? Have I become desensitized to the horrors of the real world? Have I lost my last remaining shred of empathy?

Clearly I have.

Seriously, I thought these were jokes until I read that they had been put out by a Canadian advocacy group called Home Front, whose mission, as best as I can understand it, is to improve upon the work of The Kids in the Hall.

I can clearly envision a mustachioed Scott Thompson sitting at a diner with his two children when suddenly a waitress, played by Mark McKinney in drag, accidentally pours coffee on Thompsons leg. Thompson jumps back from the table, a look of sick rage or painful bowel discomfort crosses his face as he screams You fucking bitch while at the same moment lunging at McKinneys throat. A fracas ensues, which quickly escalates to Thompson pinning McKinney against a table, pouring scalding coffee on his fake bosoms and slapping him. Bloodied, beaten and disheveled, McKinney slides off a tabletop and crumples on the floor. Thompson then dusts himself off, looks at the restaurants gawkers all Canadian Mounties as if to say What? The bitch poured coffee on my Levi’s, and goes back to eating his eggs soaked in maple syrup and chatting with his children about the latest lumberjack competition they saw on TV.

Watch for: A businessman slamming a co-workers head into a boardroom table, pushing her to the ground and then, as a mere afterthought, throwing a stapler at her head. Its a lot funnier than it sounds.

Yes, Im going to hell.

Raich v. Ashcroft oral arguments

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004

While we’ve all been screaming at each other about . . . something . . . two posts down, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in the case of Raich v. Ashcroft.

If you don’t know about Raich, it concerns the federal government’s power to regulate the purely intrastate cultivation and consumption of marijuana permitted by California’s medicinal marijuana laws. A decision against the feds would be a major gain in the direction of federalism, as well as a libertarian victory. {Hmm, going against the feds would be good for federalism? Maybe Scott Austin was onto something…}

The reigning in of the federal government’s commerce power,* after its gross expansion during the New Deal, has been one of the greatest acheivements of the Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas wing of the Court, beginning in the 1980’s. To me, it entirely compensates for my differences with them in other areas (e.g., fundamental rights and standing doctrine). Raich, properly decided, would be a great addition to this legacy.

From a very cursory reading, however, it was the liberal / moderate wing of the court focusing on the “commerce clause” charge, while Scalia showed a certain, dare I say, socially conservative reticence to go that far in rolling back federal power. For example, we have Scalia spouting things like this:

Scalia: But isnt it true that among the users of medical cannabis are whole communes with lots of people in them smoking marijuana?

It’s an old saw that judges will pick the result they want and then marshall precedent to support it. If this is true, Scalia’s talk of communes doesn’t bode well; not even his holiness is above old saws. On the other hand, he might just be acting cranky.

Meantime O’Conner is right on point:

OConnor: But this substance was not in national market or in any intrastate market, unlike the activity at issue in those cases.

Clement: It would be optimistic to believe that there will be no diversion to the national market.

OConnor: But shouldnt we assume that California will enforce its law against the sale or transportation of marijuana for nonmedical purposes?

Clement: Marijuana is a fungible product and there is a national market in this drug.

OConnor: Suppose there was a finding by the District Court that there was no diversion from the medical market to the illegal market?

There is also this distressing exchange (Tim, start your engines) involving Justice Stevens, as noted on Hit & Run:

Stevens: If you reduce demand, then you will reduce prices? Wouldnt it increase prices?

Barnett: No, if you reduce demand, you reduce price.

Stevens: Are you sure?

Barnett: Yes.

God bless Randy for standing his ground on that one.

More here, here, here.

____________________
*Commerce power explained: the US Constitution empowers the federal government to regulate interstate commerce. The meanings of the words “regulate,” “interstate,” and “commerce” have been the subject of litigation for about a century now, since we got really industrialized and interstate trade really took off. Beginning in the New Deal, the collossal growth of the federal government was largely facilitated by a liberal reading of the clause. Nowadays the fact that it justifies the existence of, say, the FBI is taken for granted, but recent decisions by the Rehnquist Court have signaled a rollback in favor of state power.

Slavery! Fuck Yeah!

Monday, November 29th, 2004

For those of you who enjoyed Team America: World Police, this flash animation of the extended version of “America, Fuck Yeah” will undoubtedly please you, as will the inclusion of GI Joe, kittens, and explosions.

Oh yeah, probably not safe for viewing at work or in North Korea.

It Took Them This Long to Catch On?

Sunday, November 28th, 2004

Republicans Outnumbered In Academia, Studies Find
George Will, Washington Post, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and Observer of the Obvious Extraordinaire, says:
“Oh, well, if studies say so. The great secret is out: Liberals dominate campuses. Coming soon: “Moon Implicated in Tides, Studies Find.”

He goes on to point out,

…”American campuses have more insistently proclaimed their commitment to diversity as they have become more intellectually monochrome.
They do indeed cultivate diversity — in race, skin color, ethnicity, sexual preference. In everything but thought.”

Kind of nullifies those bumper stickers in the faculty parking lot that so delightfully read: “Dissent is Patriotic”

I know, there are those of you out there who do not like the Washington Post. But as one of conservative mind, who attends a sometimes violently liberal university, Will is dead on with his views of liberal-dominated acadamia.
It is not to say that all liberals in acadamia are hideous swap creatures of the night. Most are very nice. But Will brings up an excellent point:

“Bauerlein says that various academic fields now have regnant premises that embed political orientations in their very definitions of scholarship:
‘Schools of education, for instance, take constructivist theories of learning as definitive, excluding realists (in matters of knowledge) on principle, while the quasi-Marxist outlook of cultural studies rules out those who espouse capitalism. If you disapprove of affirmative action, forget pursuing a degree in African-American studies. If you think that the nuclear family proves the best unit of social well-being, stay away from women’s studies.'”

Also, note to self: do not send any future offspring to Berkeley:

“…George Lakoff, a linguistics professor at Berkeley, denies that academic institutions are biased against conservatives. The disparity in hiring, he explains, occurs because conservatives are not as interested as liberals in academic careers. Why does he think liberals are like that? “Unlike conservatives, they believe in working for the public good and social justice.” That clears that up.”

Now, someone tell me that this Lakoff man is not rotten, biased, discirminatory, and completely full of shit. I dare you.

Very Good, My Young Apprentice

Saturday, November 27th, 2004

Viktor Yushchenko may be within inches of the Ukrainian presidency, and he might be running on a pro-democracy platform, but he still looks like a walking corpse. My diagnosis? A bad case of the darkside.

This Post Is Not Work-Safe

Friday, November 26th, 2004

Back in middle school, I was a straight-up origami master. You can have your crane and waterbomb. I could make grasshoppers, tyrannosaurs and even a 3-D biplane, shit. But I’m kicking myself because I never thought of this:

Good news: There’s more.

Still More Identity Politics

Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

Please, God, no.

The story isn’t quite as horrifying as it first appears, and the writer has to grudgingly conclude that “few colleges say they give admissions preferences to boys…” – but along the way he has a fine old time trying to drum up business:

Football was dropped in 1993, but now thousands of students instead fill the stadium to cheer the women’s soccer team. Women routinely hold most of the campus leadership positions. And when the student union was remodeled recently, the number of men’s toilets which had been more than double those for women was cut to make space for more women’s stalls.

The horror! The horror!

This stuff isn’t complicated. Admit the best students and let the chips fall where they may. (Deciding which students are the best is complicated, to be sure, but the principle is extremely easy.)

(Noticed on Volokh, of course, but it’s all over the place by now.)

Headline As Koan, Part XVIII

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

As I’ve said before, it has got to be basically impossible to produce a daily paper’s worth of interesting and/or relevant material on this campus, so I certainly don’t want to fault the ODE too harshly for their struggles.

On the other hand, Web logs transform expression methods? For Christ’s sake. What’s more, if we want to know what drives students to drink – which we apparently do – I think sentences like “Among the many facets of student life, drinking alcohol is one aspect that has become heavily embedded into college culture” have to be considered among the main culprits.

He’d “Rather” Not Stay

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Hey Dan: enjoy your correspondent status.
I think we need to throw a staff party on Dan Rather’s last night, an as-yet undetermined date in March. Any resignation of a major anchor should be accompanied by drinking.

“He made no mention of the National Guard story in announcing the change, saying he had agreed with CBS executives last summer that after the November 2 election would be the right time to leave.”

Liz Trotta, former New York bureau chief of The Washington Times has said of Dan: “He’s a complete and total psychopath. I don’t mean that in the criminal sense, of course, but in a professional sense. People like that will do anything to hold on to their jobs.”

Aint it the truth. But now would be a good time to leave. Exit Dan Rather, stage right!

Artest-less

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Ron Artest, the Beast with the Least, in his first interview since the unfortunate incident. At least he didn’t pull a Kobe. Although I hear that the man Artest hit left the Palace and was hit by three other men before he went to the authorities, had a history of promiscuous fight-starting, and in fact never said no to Artest’s advances to start a fight. But who are we to determine when “no” means “no”?

Hey, kids, repeat after me: it’s just a game. Just a game. It’s not about who threw the first punch. All that matters is that you gave it your best and beat the snot out of someone.

“It was Artest’s first national interview since he was suspended for charging into the stands and fighting with fans late in Friday night’s game against the Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hills, a Detroit suburb. The suspension amounts to 72 games in an 82-game season, and means he will lose about $5 million.”

And the guy who started the fight? One John Green, aka Mr. Perfect Sober Man, aka Mr. I Didn’t Throw the Cup, aka Mr. Big Fat Liar.

“…Gorcyca said Green was on probation for his third offense of driving under the influence. Green’s record also includes convictions for carrying a concealed weapon and check fraud, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections’ database…Green is a season-ticket holder and will be banned from The Palace.”

I say we drop the whole thing, let the two have a Cage Death Match, and get on with the roundball season. I have me some Jason Kidd to drool over.

Shut up!

Friday, November 19th, 2004

Hey, snitch. Half the point of cheating is not getting caught. But you just had to go on 20/20 and blab to the media about it, didn’t you?

“The student said, “Is it worth my time to go research and find information on a topic that I’m not interested in? It’s not worth my time. So I paid somebody else to do it.”

The student attended a university we agreed not to name. He gave us the name of the paper-writing company he went to, the amount of money he paid and a copy of the paper itself. But after I gave him a hard time about what he’d done, he asked us to disguise him and claimed that some of what he told us was not true. I don’t know what to believe, but plenty of students say what he said: that cheating is common, and many students don’t view it as a big deal.”

Doesn’t cover-up information lead to…um…journalistic cheating via making up sources? Plus, this “nameless faceless probably made-up” student just makes the rest of us look bad.

Geez.

Breasts with your Wings?

Friday, November 19th, 2004

Get your mind out of the gutter! I’m talking about chicken! Or am I… ?
This one’s for you
, Danimal:

“Hooters of America and a rival restaurant chain began arguing in federal court over who has rights to the concept of using scantily clad women to sell food and beer.”
And just to ruin whatever lovely images of Hooters Girls dance in your head:
“For want of a better expression, the Hooter girl is our Ronald McDonald.”

Ronald McDonald, Boobs… A chill of horror races down my spine at the very thought. But isn’t it nice to know that frivolous intellectual property lawsuits aren’t out of hand? God bless the legal system. And monopolies on using breasts to sell stuff.

Dawn of the Perez (or) Something’s Rotten in Niketown

Friday, November 19th, 2004

Legacy of the Knights, violating human rights, fiscal fights; sounds like the new CEO has inherited quite a few plights. There’s a new CEO of Nike Town, and he’s gonna “clean up,” yo. Let’s just hope he doesn’t let Nike go down the drain.

“He [Knight] will be succeeded by William Perez, head of S.C. Johnson & Son, maker of Glade air fresheners and Drano drain cleaner. “

Scroll down and compare their photos. They look eerily alike. Phil Knight and William Perez: Long-lost brothers? Alien clones? You decide. It’s old news on campus by now, but we can still have fun with it: An open contest, in the theme this week of contests. The best Nike/S.C. Johnson & Son hybrid product in comments wins.

The OLCC: still here, still lame

Friday, November 19th, 2004

This, like, guy I know has written a dated, semi-coherent, but still worthwhile post about the near demise of our favorite local monopoly and the nefarious machinations of our favorite local legislature. Read it here.

Places we’re not needed

Friday, November 19th, 2004

I just had to lift this in full from Volokh. Apparently there are schools out there where student media wankery, student government malfeasery, professorial scrumdouchery and radical activist unseemliwhinery just don’t loom large on a daily basis . . .

THE IVORY TOWER: You know that a university is doing pretty well when the lead article in the latest issue of the school paper begins with following paragraph:
The Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority will receive “harsh penalties” for allowing two unrecognized fraternities to participate in their kickball tournament, Panhellenic Association officials said earlier this week.