Saturday, August 02, 2008

Blogger Problem Resolved

Yesterday, blogger flagged my blog as spam as they did to a number of other blogs from around the web:

While we wish that every post on this blog could be about cool features or other Blogger news, sometimes we have to step in and admit a mistake.

We've noticed that a number of users have had their blogs mistakenly marked as spam, and wanted to sound off real quick to let you know that, despite it being Friday afternoon, we are working hard to sort this out. So to those folks who have received an email saying that your blog has been classified as spam and can't post right now, we offer our sincere apologies for the trouble.

We hope to have this resolved shortly, and appreciate your patience as we work through the kinks.

So, hopefully, Blogger has been fixed but it makes me wonder if I should move this blog to another hosting source at some point. I like Blogger for the most part but there is probably a reason so many bloggers don't want to use it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nifong was "Intoxicated by the Media"

I attended a panel today at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools on the Duke Lacrosse Controversy. On the panel was KC Johnson, author of Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case who wrote the popular Durham-in-Wonderland blog that played such an important role in reporting the real facts as they came up in the case. I asked Johnson after the panel how he got interested in the rape case and why he blogged about it. His reponse was that the Duke group of 88, the professors who took out an ad that accused the lacrosse players of being guilty without evidence seemed so unfair and the facts of the case didn't add up and he felt compelled to do something about it. And that he did.

The panel as a whole was impressive as James Coleman from Duke, Angela Davis from American University, Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina and Lyrissa Lidsky from the University of Florida were all there to discuss the role of the media, the inappropriate use of power by prosecutor Mike Nifong, and the lessons we can learn from them.

Professor Davis, author of Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor, pointed out that many poor people, particularly minorities are prosecuted unfairly without any justice, while Johnson pointed out that the Duke lacrosse students were prosecuted because they were seen as privileged and white. Lidsky discussed how the MSM pushed the case into a media frenzy and Professor Gerhardt stated that Nifong was "intoxicated by the media" and opined that the trial should not have been made public but would have been better off tried by a jury. Professor Coleman stated that "one of the most extraordinary things that happened in the case was KC's blog. It was accurate and well-sourced." Overall, the panel was terrific and reminded me that there are many fair-minded professionals out there who believe in justice even when it is not popular. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More Summer Reading

While in Florida this week, I decided to take an advance copy of clinical psychologist Roberta Isleib's new book Asking For Murder with me for some fun summer reading. You might remember that I posted about Isleib's first book, Deadly Advice and found it to be well worth a read if you like psychological mysteries.

This book --the third in the series --is the tale of clinical psychologist and advice columnist Dr. Rebecca Butterman, who is always getting into other people's business and solving crimes. This time, one of her best friends gets beaten up and left for dead, and naturally, she sets about finding out the details of what happened.

While I am not crazy about the main character--she is too PC for my taste (although likable at times), I was pleased to see that the author sort of poked fun at Butterman's tendencies to use sexist stereotypes to look for clues to the mystery of who hurt her friend. For example, she assumes her friend's boyfriend might have been the one that assaulted her because men are always belittling women's self-esteem (typical therapist) and he is a carpenter, probably making her more suspicious as she does not seem happy that he does "blue collar" work. She invites the boyfriend over for dinner to feel him out and asks him about his educational background. The boyfriend, Russ, tries to answer her questions but finally feels belittled himself and the dialogue that follows between him and Butterman is rather amusing:

"If you have a problem with me being too dumb for your friend, the fancy doctor, why don't you have the balls to just come out and say it?"

"She's not a doctor, she's a social worker," I said through gritted teeth. "Do you even know what sandplay therapy is?"

"I'll tell you what we had in common, because that's obviously what you've been wondering about all night. Why did your smart friend go for a big dumb dope like me? She was depressed," he said, jabbing his right pointer finger right at me. It was missing the tip. "We laughed all the time. Which is more than she could say for the rest of her friends."

Author Isleib makes Butterman look small and petty and the guy, well, articulate and to the point. Anyway, I won't ruin the plot for you in case you ever read it but I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

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"In general, a restraining order is only enforceable against a law-abiding, non-violent man."

Mike McCormick and Glenn Sacks: Restraining Orders Can Be Straitjackets On Justice:

Women’s advocates and the state Attorney General's office are criticizing a new court ruling which will make it harder for women to get restraining orders against their male partners. Star-Ledger columnist Fran Wood, in her recent op-ed “Don't soften protection for women,” called New Jersey’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act “one of the best statutes in the country,” and said the new ruling could “diminish the ability of domestic violence victims to get the protection they need.”

Certainly abused women need protection and support, but there are many troubling aspects of the DVPA’s restraining order provisions that merit judicial and/or legislative redress.

Under the DVPA, it is very easy for a woman to allege domestic violence and get a restraining order (aka “protection order”). New Jersey issues 30,000 restraining orders annually, and men are targeted in 4/5ths of them. The standard is “preponderance of the evidence” (often conceptualized as 51%-49%), and judges almost always side with the accusing plaintiff.

Under the DVPA, the accuser need not even claim actual abuse. Alleged verbal threats of violence are sufficient, even though it’s almost impossible for the accused to provide substantive contradictory evidence.

The restraining order boots the man out of his own home and generally prohibits him from contacting his own children. Men are cut off from their possessions and property, and some end up in homeless shelters.

Update: Vox Day has more on New Jersey's lack of regard for the Constitution when it comes to men and domestic violence.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

The View from My Window

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Church Shooting in Knoxville

A man in Knoxville opened fire on a Unitarian Church this morning. Michael Silence at the Knoxville News-Sentinel has the details.