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The Tampon Police

[ 0 ] February 26, 2008 |

Mike Huckabee (who, yes, is apparently still in the presidential race) today endorsed the Colorado “Human Life Amendment,” which would recognize human life in Colorado from “the moment of conception.” From the Denver Post:

“With this amendment, Colorado has an opportunity to send a clear message that every human life has value,” Huckabee said. “Passing this amendment will mean the people of Colorado will protect the sanctity of life from conception until natural death occurs.”

What I want to know, and what Echidne is asking too, is whether this means that women’s tampons and sanitary pads are forensic evidence, to be picked apart each month to see whether a “person” has died. I mean, given that about half (if not more) of fertilized eggs do not implant and are sloughed off each month with a woman’s menstrual period, it would stand to reason that a woman is each month expelling human remains. And not her own.

Also interesting that Huckabee (and other supporters of the Amendment) frame the Amendment as protecting “every human life.” Every human life, that is, except women’s.

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Haven’t Picked On Jeter Lately…

[ 0 ] February 26, 2008 |

A bit late to the party, but this was St. Derek’s response upon learning of the 449th different system of evaluating shortstop fielding prowess to characterize him as a terrible defensive shortstop:

“Maybe it was a computer glitch,” the three-time Gold Glove winner said of the report. But Jeter just didn’t laugh this one off. He defended himself, saying, “Every [shortstop] doesn’t stay in the same spot, everyone doesn’t have the same pitching. Everyone doesn’t have the same hitters running, it’s impossible to do that.”

Jeter, 33, pointed out you can get the exact same ground ball off the exact same pitcher and there could be an average runner or there could be Ichiro running. “How can you compute that?” he asked.

To take these in reverse order, you of course can compute the effect of pitching staff, park, and opposition on fielding; most every modern system does this.

On the positioning, let me outsource to Dan Fox:

None of the systems take into account the starting position of the fielder on individual plays, and so are making an assumption that over the large number of observations—a shortstop would be expected to field somewhere between 350 and 425 balls a year—positioning evens out. That said, the systems also assume (not unfairly in my view) that positioning is a part of what being a good defender is all about. So, if a fielder is claiming that his positioning is making him look bad defensively, which boils down to his not making as many outs in the field as he should, thereby costing his team runs and wins, it’s incumbent upon him to change whatever failed strategy is being employed.

Another way of saying this is “Derek, if you’re standing in the wrong place, you should move.”

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Democracy! Whiskey! Misogyny!

[ 11 ] February 26, 2008 |

Why, it’s almost as if the talk of liberating Afghani women was a cynical pretext abandoned as soon as they had another shiny new Islamist quasi-state to install!

I’m afraid that if Christina Hoff Sommers hasn’t written at least three books on the subject by the end of the year I’m going to have to continue not taking her seriously.

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Faux News…or Fox Porn?

[ 27 ] February 26, 2008 |

Via Feminist Law Profs comes this interesting website/advertisement for “Outfoxed,” a documentary about how Fox News is dragging down the entire television medium. The website “Fox News Porn” exposes how Fox News consistently relies on images of scantily clad and gyrating women to titillate its conservative audience (puns intended). All of the images on the faux site were actually broadcast on Fox News.

The segments (which you can view on Outfoxed’s really well done (and provocative) site) Fox News Porn are particularly surprising (at least to me, since I never — ever — stop flipping the channels at Faux News) in light of O’Reilly’s near-constant screeds about moral values and the decline of the American social fabric. Nice to know that Murdoch’s empire is putting its money where its mouth is.

Taylor Marsh at HuffPo has more.

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Today In Aesthetic Stalinism

[ 8 ] February 26, 2008 |

Shorter Verbatim stooge at Veritas Libertas — Conservative Thought (sic) About Film (sic): “You know what, I’m glad little Miss Julie -Close Gitmo- Christie lost. Acting like a anti-American pig on the red carpet waving her little Canadian flag (White, right?) and bitching about Gitmo… She can kiss our terriorist killing, UN hating, Iraq invading, Red White and Blue ass as she goes home empty-handed hoping she someday scores an HONORARY Oscar. See ya in Canada Julie– unless, of course you decent decent healthcare.”

I don’t know how much one has to hate art and hate life to harbor an intense, simmering resentment against Julie Christie because she made some mild statements opposing arbitrary detention and torture. Frankly, I don’t want to know. It’s the kind of market we can do without.

One might also think that a writer about film would be aware that Julie Christie has actually already won an Oscar, but of course the website in question has nothing to do with film so it makes sense.

[Thanks to Roy. I think.]

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Only the Times…

[ 15 ] February 26, 2008 |

…Could frame this as a negative for Obama:

“And while he has made progress among women, he still faces a striking gender gap: Mr. Obama is backed by two-thirds of the Democratic men and 45 percent of the women. White women remain a Clinton stronghold.”

So the paper is telling me that the fact that Obama supporters include almost half the women in the country Democratic party and 66% of the men is a vulnerability? Sure there’s a gender gap, but it’s much smaller than it used to be.

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Is SNL Back to Being Funny?

[ 60 ] February 25, 2008 |

Exhibit A: the “annuale” commercial that aired on this weekend’s show:

I personally prefer this to the popular “bitches get stuff done” bit. Certainly not perfect from a feminist perspective, but nice to see some funny ladies back on the small screen.

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Oh No! A Turban!

[ 0 ] February 25, 2008 |

My assumption about the Drudge story was that the pictures of Obama dressed in a turban with the racist and/or xenophobic connotations that flow from that was that it was a right-wing smear he was trying to launder by pinning it on the Clinton campaign. But this non-denial denial suggests pretty strongly that it was, in fact, a Clinton smear job. I really hope it’s over next Tuesday….

an actual denial from Wolfson. I’ll take their word for it.

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You can’t spell "integrity" without SMU!

[ 31 ] February 25, 2008 |

The school that hosted the greatest football scandal in NCAA history has topped itself by agreeing to host the George W. Bush library after The Decider shuffles off his presidential coil next year.

The entire project would be intellectually suspect, if for no other reason than Bush’s issuance of Executive Order 13233 in November 2001. That document, which was written up by Noted Friend of the Constitution Alberto Gonzales, essentially suspended the 1978 Presidential Records Act by allowing presidents nearly limitless authority over their papers and by permitting them to designate representatives to act in their name — and continue to withhold the release of what should be public records — after their deaths. As well, the order enables sitting presidents to revise the wishes of their predecessors and block their papers from release. It was an abhorrent order, and Congress has allowed it to stand for well over six years. (The moderately good news is that 13233 will almost certainly be rescinded by the next president; it may not even make it that far if the Senate follows the House’s lead and passes a veto-proof bill restoring the old procedures. Barack Obama is one of three co-signers to the Senate legislation. Jeff Sessions is blocking the bill in committee.)

None of this is news, of course. What’s truly jaw-dropping about SMU’s decision, though, is that the library comes with an affiliated “institution” whose openly partisan mission will be to continue promoting the “ideas and views” of George W. Bush. The institution will be sited on SMU’s campus but will not actually be under the control of the university itself.

While SMU will not release details about its agreement with the president’s foundation until later today, the summary indicates that the university agreed to a structure that would link the institute to the rest of the library and the university, while agreeing to let the foundation control the institute.

The institute will have its own board, which will consist of from three to nine members. SMU said that under its agreement with Bush, the university will be assured one board seat if the board size is up to five, and two board seats if the board is larger.

To a degree, I can understand why the Bush foundation would insist on this sort of thing as a condition for hosting Bush’s collection of books and papers. He’ll leave office next year as one of the worst and least popular presidents in American history, and he’s going to need a permanent public relations infrastructure — an historical analogue to the Office of Special Plans — if he’s going to keep the 20-percenters from ever regarding him (correctly) as a gross incompetent.

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Almost Single Digits

[ 18 ] February 25, 2008 |

Late last week there was news of President Bush’s new approval ratings, which are his lowest ever: 19%.

Other polls have him slightly higher (in the 20s). I take such perverse joy in this. I think the day he hits 9%, I may have to throw a little party.

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The Non-Sequitur Defense

[ 84 ] February 25, 2008 |

A commenter recommends this diary defending the candidacy of Ralph Nader, making an argument I’ve heard many times before. I agree strongly with the diarist that we should get rid of the electoral college and institute instant runoff voting, and mildly agree that a PR system would be preferable to first-past-the-post (although a PR system creates some serious problems with a separation-of-powers system.)

The problem, of course, is that Ralph Nader’s candidacies have done absolutely nothing to bring these things about, and at least two of them (direct vote for president and PR) are not.going.to.happen.ever. because they would require small states or incumbents to give up vested interests. It’s silly to defend Nader by saying that if we had a different electoral system he wouldn’t have thrown the election to Bush. We don’t, and he did, and I don’t see how putting George Bush in the White House took us closer to instant-runoff voting.

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Oscars

[ 47 ] February 25, 2008 |

Didn’t see the ceremony. Glad to see No Country win Best Picture; it wasn’t my very favorite picture of the year, but as I said last year it’s again the best movie to win Best Picture since Annie Hall, and the class this year was unusually strong.

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