Friday, January 10, 2003

Fans Ben posted a note and I tossed in my comments but it got me thinking about fans and the different ballparks.

I've never been to a Raider game in Oakland. A few years back, my parents gave me tickets to a Raiders game against the Redskins for Christmas (the game was on the 26th). The 'skins needed to win to make the playoffs and the Raiders were out of it. The stadium was rockin' and there was this group of guys who circled the stadium with long puppet hands/fingers and whenever they saw a Raider fan, they'd point these things at him and yell "you,you,you,you,you..." IIRC, the 'skins led most of the game (if not all), but then, at the end, 40+ Vince Evans came in at QB and drove the team down field for the game-winning TD pass with no time left. The place went silent (except for all us Raider fans). It was really, really thrilling.

It turned out the guy next to me was a Raider fan. I'll tell you what though -- no one gave me any grief.

I also remember going to a Monday night game at RFK (the one where Theisman had his leg broken) against the Giants, and the Redskins fans were merciless toward the Giants fans, pouring beer on them was the least of it. I guess since the Raiders weren't rivals, it wasn't so bad for me.

There used to ba a Raider mailing list (SABER - Silver And Black Electronic Report), and when the Raiders played the Ravens in the Championship game two years ago, SABER indicated the only thing the Raider fans did to the purple-clad Ravens fans was to sing "I love you, you love me..." (purple - Barney --).

You see a lot of the grotesque when the Raiders play -- and you hear about the Black Hole and so on. If you think back about 10 years and prior, it wasn't like that. Raider fans never dressed up -- okay there were a few "Darth Raider" things, but they were the exception.

I have been to a few A's games and have found the fans to be pretty mellow. I don't mean to sound snobby, because I still think of myself as being from the West Coast, but I think the East Coast fans rule. When I've gone to Fenway, I've found the Sox fans much more knowledgeble about the game and to be thinking about when to clap, stomp, do the wave (okay, it's been 10 years since I've been to Fenway) etc. Whereas the West coast fans (not only Oakland, but SD, LA and SF) just did these things whenever they got bored.

Anyway, I hear the Philly fans are the worst toward opposing fans, then the Jints fans. But I've never been to those parks. The Raiderfan website had a Raider fans recollection of the game in Foxborough last year in which he doesn't give any horror stories. Thankfully, we haven't gotten to the point where we treat each other like enemies.

As an aside, there are also the 'traveling' fans -- if you go to a Caps-Pens game at MCI, you will find more Pens fans rooting for the visitors -- Similarly I hear that if you go to a Raiders game in SD, there will be more Raiders fans there...
Rolling on the floor. Via the Conspiracy, this is one of the funniest things of the year (and I go all the way back to 1/1/02).
Order of the Phoenix. According to discussion on the Harry Potter Weblog, The Leaky Cauldron, it looks like the fifth book in the series will be out after June -- but that's just a guess. See these entries. No mention; Why not sooner?
Beat Jets. I'll be honest, this is about all I've been thinking about this past week. The Jets terrify me -- part of it is knowing they probably should've won the game against us played earlier this year.

A pretty key play happened in the second half. Background: Raiders had moved down to the Jets 26, but had a penalty, then a sack. Gannon completed a short pass to Brown for 6 yards which made it 3d and 10. But the pass caught was Brown's 1,000th and this brought the game to a halt for the recognition and festivities. More importantly to the course of the game, it allowed Gannon to go to the sidelines to confer with offensive coordinator Marc Trestman -- they constructed what I believe was the key play of the game, a 26 yard TD pass to Jerry Rice that put the Raiders ahead 13-10.

There were other key plays in that game, nearly all went against the Jets (in chronological order):
  • Santana Moss goes out with an injury, requiring Chad Morton to return punts
  • Pennington's pass on third down into the endzone goes incomplete and on fourth down,
  • Jets 34 yard field goal attempt blocked. [At that point the Raiders were ahead 6-0]
  • The Jets take the lead 7-6 at the 2:00 warning in the first half -- hold the Raiders and receive punt with 39 sec. remaining.
  • In the 3d Quarter, on a punt, Chad Morton fumbles at the Jets 14 yard-line, the Raiders recover and score a TD four plays later to go ahead 20-10.

    On the other hand, these key points for the Jets:
  • Laveranues Coles, had 10 catches for 158 yards.
  • 217 yards in returns (Morton, had returns of 50 and 58 yards).

    These teams have played 3 times in the past 13 months, each game in Oakland, with the Raiders winning two of the three. Also, as I think I outline above, it could easily be the Jets winning two of three. During that time, the Raiders had no turnovers, the Jets had seven. That will be the key to the game. Yes, I know it's always a key, but I believe if the Raiders have more than one turnover, maybe even more than no turnovers, they will lose.

    If Garner has a big game, on the other hand, it should mean a Raiders win. Ditto for the other backs, which brings us to--

    If we get a rain like we did against KC, I think the Raiders could win big -- the Raiders lines would overpower the Jets. But the forecast is for light rain or clearing. The field will be a little sloppy -- it always is this time of year -- it's the rainy season and the field is below sea level.
  • Thursday, January 09, 2003

    Personhood. We're leading up to the thirtieth anniversary of the Supreme Court's decisions in the Abortion Cases -- Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton (in the early days, these cases were described as The Abortion Cases, like The Civil Rights Cases or The Legal Tender Cases) and there will be a number of articles and essays commemorating it. I'd like to use this space to note some of those articles and give my reactions or other thoughts on the case.

    First case in point: Norah Vincent, a self described "libertarian, 'pro-life' lesbian" (I think we're at a point where none of those terms are perjoratives -- I certainly wouldn't mean them as such -- I see them as descriptive, but not limiting), has an essay in today's LA Times challenging the "extremists" on both ends of the spectrum in the abortion debate.

    At the heart of her essay, Vincent notes:
    Thus, despite what the activists want you to think, the real question on abortion is whether the right to privacy or the right to life should prevail. Which comes down to the real choice on abortion: Is the fetus human?

    If the fetus isn't human, then getting an abortion is no different from getting a tattoo or a nose job. It's a victimless procedure that is nobody's business and should be legal.

    If the fetus is human, then it deserves all the constitutional protections that you and I enjoy, the most important being the right to life.

    If a fetus is human, then the logical conclusion is inescapable: Abortion, by definition, is homicide and should be illegal except when, to save her own life, the mother aborts in self-defense.
    Listening to some of the oral arguments from the two arguments in Roe (it was argued and then put over for reargument) last week I was struck by Justice Stewart's questioning on this point and I realized that he was troubled about the "activist" dimension to what would happen if the Court held the fetus was a person -- that is a person for constitutional purposes. Here are a couple of clips from the oral arguments (second argument). First the Court and Sarah Weddington arguing to overturn the state statute:
    MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN: Well, do I get from this, then, that your case depends primarily on the proposition that the fetus has no constitutional rights?

    MRS. WEDDINGTON: It depends on saying that the woman has a fundamental constitutional right and that the State has not proved any compelling interest for regulation in the area.

    Even if the Court at some point determined the fetus to be entitled to constitutional protection, you would still get back into the weighing of one life against another.

    MR. JUSTICE WHITE: That's what's involved in this case? Weighing one life against another?

    MRS. WEDDINGTON: No, Your Honor. I say that would be what would be involved if the facts were different, and the State could prove that there was a person, for the constitutional right.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: Well, if--if--it were established that an unborn fetus is a person, with the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment, you would have almost an impossible case here, would you not?

    MRS. WEDDINGTON: I would have a very difficult [*21] case.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: I'm sure you would. So if you had the same kind of thing, you'd have to say that this would be the equivalent after the child was born if the mother thought it bothered her health any having the child around, she could have it killed. Isn't that correct?

    MRS. WEDDINGTON: That's correct. That--

    CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER: Could Texas constitutionally--did you want to respond further to Justice Stewart?

    Did you want to respond further to him?

    MRS. WEDDINGTON: No, Your Honor.
    Shortly thereafter Robert Flowers began his argument on behalf of the state of Texas and in favor of the statute:
    It is impossible for me to trace, within my allocated time, the development of the fetus from the date of conception to the date of its birth. But it is the position of the State of Texas that upon conception we have a human being, a person within the concept of the Constitution of the United States and that of Texas, also.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: Now, how should that question be decided, is it a legal question, a constitutional question, a medical question, a philosophical question, or a religious question, or what is it?

    MR. FLOWERS: Your Honor, we feel that it could be best decided by a legislature in view of the fact that they can bring before it the medical testimony, the actual people who do the research. But we do have--

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: So then it's basically a medical question?

    MR. FLOWERS: From a constitutional standpoint, no, sir. I think it's fairly and squarely before this Court. [*24] We don't envy the Court for having to make this decision.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: Do you know of any case anywhere that's held that an unborn fetus is a person within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment?

    MR. FLOWERS: No, sir, we can only go back to what the framers of our Constitution had in mind.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: Well, these weren't the framers that wrote the Fourteenth Amendment. It came along much later.

    MR. FLOWERS: No, sir. I understand. But the Fifth Amendment, under the Fifth Amendment: no one shall be deprived of the right to life, liberty, and property without the due process of law.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: Yes, but then the Fourteenth Amendment defines "person" [and it defines person] as somebody who's born, doesn't it?

    MR. FLOWERS: I'm not sure about that, sir. I--

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: [Well, it does.] All right. [Alt: words "all right" not spoken.]

    Any person born, or naturalized in the United States.

    MR. FLOWERS: Yes, sir.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: It doesn't [Alt: "Doesn’t it"] --[I suppose] that's not the definition of a "person" but that's the definition of a "citizen."

    MR. FLOWERS: Your Honor, it's our position that the definition of a person is so basic, it's so fundamental that [it is] the framers of the Constitution had not even set out to define. We can only go to what the teachings at the time the Constitution was framed.


    We have numerous listings in the brief by Mr. Joe Witherspoon, a professor at the University of Texas, that tries to trace back what was in their mind when they had the "person" concept when they drew up the Constitution.

    He quoted Blackstone in 1765, and he observed, in his Commentaries, that: "Life. This right is inherent by nature in every individual, and exists even before the child is born."

    * * *

    MR. JUSTICE WHITE: Well, if you're correct that the fetus is a person, then I don't suppose you'd have--the State would have great trouble permitting an abortion, would it?

    MR. FLOWERS: Yes, sir.

    MR. JUSTICE WHITE: In any circumstances?

    MR. FLOWERS: It would, yes, sir.

    MR. JUSTICE WHITE: To save the life of a mother or her health or anything else?

    MR. FLOWERS: Well, there would be the balancing of the two lives, and I think that--

    MR. JUSTICE WHITE: Well, what would you choose? Would you choose to kill the innocent one, or what?

    MR. FLOWERS: Well, in our statute the State did choose that way, Your Honor. [*27]

    * * *

    MR. FLOWERS: . . . Gentlemen, we feel that the concept of a fetus being within the concept of a person, within the framework [*30] of the United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution, is an extremely fundamental thing.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: Of course, if you're right about that, you can sit down, you've won your case.

    MR. FLOWERS: Your Honor,--

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: Except insofar as maybe the Texas abortion law presently goes too far in allowing abortions.

    MR. FLOWERS: Yes, sir. That's exactly right. We feel that this is the only question, really, that this Court has to answer.

    We have a--

    MR. JUSTICE WHITE: Do you think the case is over for you? You've lost your case, then, if the fetus or the embryo is not a person, is that it?

    MR. FLOWERS: Yes, sir, I would say so.

    * * *

    MR. FLOWERS: You're entirely right there. But I find no way that I know that any court or any legislature or any doctor anywhere can say that here is the dividing line. Here is not a life; and here is a life, after conception.

    Perhaps it would be better left to that legislature. [Alt: "to our legislators."] There they have the facilities to have some type of medical testimony brought before them, and the opinion of the people [*39] who are being governed by it.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: Well, if you're right that an unborn fetus is a person, then you can't leave it to the Legislature to play fast and loose dealing with that person. In other words, if you're correct in your basic submission that an unborn fetus is a person, then abortion laws such as that which New York has are grossly unconstitutional, isn't it?

    MR. FLOWERS: That's right, yes.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: Allowing the killing of people.

    MR. FLOWERS: Yes, sir.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: A person. [Alt: "--of persons"]

    MR. FLOWERS: Your Honor, in Massachusetts, I might point out--

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: Definitely it isn't up [Alt: "You can’t leave this up"] to the Legislature; it's a constitutional problem, isn't it?

    MR. FLOWERS: Well, if there would be any exceptions within this--

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: The basic constitutional question, initially, is whether or not an unborn fetus is a person, isn't it?

    MR. FLOWERS: Yes, sir. And entitled to the constitutional protection.

    MR. JUSTICE STEWART: And that's critical to this case, is it not?

    MR. FLOWERS: Yes, sir, it is. [*40]
    My emphasis added. As I listened to Justice Stewart it occurred to me that he was really troubled by the apparent conflict -- the apparent judicial activism the Court would have to engage in, he felt, should it declare a fetus to be a person, for constitutional purposes. On the contrary, for example, Justice Marshall seemed to be toying with Mr. Flowers, treating him more like a hostile party -- it was obvious he had already made up his mind.

    Personally, I don't think the court needed to determine the fetus was a person -- neither dissenting Justice did that, if I recall correctly. Moreover, I am equally troubled to think that the court can look at a partially born human being -- capable of living outside the womb -- as it did in Carhart and declaring that child is not a person.

    Anyway, this is the start of my notes -- more to come.

    More -- Norah Vincent's Blog.

    An anecdote about the "overturned case" in the Supreme Court from Matt Evans.

    The Falsehoods of Abortion by attorney Tom Ashcraft in the Charlotte Observer.

    Tuesday, January 07, 2003

    Just to make it clear: I disagreed with the Tuck rule last year -- not the application of it against the Raiders. I think it was (most likely) applied correctly and said so at the time (I also wrote that the Raiders were in control of their destiny, so I couldn't fault the officials). I'm still ticked off about it though -- you would be too. I also agree with all those who said the Giants shouldn't have put themselves in that position. Nevertheless, the referees blew a crucial call and that was something that could've been corrected at the time, but wasn't.

    If I were a Giants fan, I'd be in high outrage -- instead, I'm on low simmer. To be honest, I'm wondering if this is some kind of foreshadowing. Please don't blow another call -- even if it goes in favor of my team.
    More on our "Risible" Reverends. Awhile back, the good professor remarked that he was tempted to start an Anglican-Clergy risibility watch, but didn't have the time to do it justice. Regretably, I don't think anyone does. Nevertheless, I see that there was a sermon at the National Cathedral on Christmas Sunday, the day after the Feast of the Holy Innocents, in which the Rev. Canon Michael Wyatt, Ph.D, the theologian of the Cathedral compared all of America with King Herod:
    The Church celebrated yesterday the Feast of the Holy Innocents, the children Herod ordered slaughtered in an attempt to kill the newborn King of the Jews, Jesus. The acknowledged good of a stable dynasty veiled a brutal and reprehensible fact, and for the sake of that perceived possible positive outcome actual flesh was ripped open. The self-indulgence of the indolent is paid for out of the flesh of the innocents of the world, those powerless to defend themselves, except by acts of terror. Our consuming and combative choices hack away at the fabric of life, and we are slashed and burned in return. And if we answer, even sincerely, that we do not know on whose back we ride, that ignorance will not save us, and if we are lucky enough to die before the verdict comes in, that escape does not mean that we are numbered among the holy innocent.

    For over a decade, the United States has held to an intensification of the U. N. sanctions on Iraq, blocking with its veto and entangling in debates any attempt to relieve that nation. As part of the “dual-use” considerations of the sanctions, by which items which might conceivably be used for military purposes are kept out, equipment to repair Iraq’s sewage plants have been held up. By 1996, all the sewage treatment plants in Iraq had broken down; 300,000 tons of raw sewage are dumped into Iraqi rivers daily. This, of course, has meant an increase of cholera, typhoid, and dysentery. But the necessary vaccines are also blocked, with the claim that they might be used to make biological weapons—a technically unlikely claim. Thirteen percent of all Iraqi children will die before their fifth birthday of these diseases and related conditions; twenty-five percent of all the children in the southern region live in chronic malnutrition. Is it better not to know about these Holy Innocents? By the grace of God, moments of brutality can become moments in which the powerful are forced into the most horrific knowledge of themselves by seeing their own violence and brought to repentance. We must see how flesh pays for our words if we are to change. The question remains, with whom do you identify?—and if it is Herod, wail.
    The whole sermon may be found here -- I did give you the entire risible passage so you can evaluate in context.

    Nevertheless, to a certain extent Canon Wyatt is correct -- continuing sanctions are most likely an act of war. Therefore, wouldn't the humane thing be to liberate Iraq, post haste, from its real Herod?
    Dick is in, Daschle's out. Could the two be related? I think Daschle's main advantage was his control of the Senate -- he actually still has a degree of control -- that's the way the Senate rules work. Anyway, Daschle announced late this morning.

    Monday, January 06, 2003

    Another Bad Call. According to ESPN there was pass interference on the last play of the Jints game. I was insisting to my wife last night that at the very worst it was off-setting penalties and there should've been one last play from the line of scrimage. I was somewhat mollified when the announcers said that the ineligible player was the one interfered with, but I had my doubts then. I figured the lineman had reported as an eligible player or else it would've been a different penalty -- and therefore, he was eligible and interfered with downfield.

    When I played, I wore an ineligible number -- 51 -- but played end on special teams and always reported in for just such plays -- referred to as "fire" plays (because that's what the kicker or holder yells when the ends are supposed to release and get open for a desparation pass). Fire plays are practiced in every special teams practice.

    Personally, I think the 49ers and Jints should reassemble this week -- tomorrow even and redo that play -- same personnel. If they're going to go to videotape to rule on a "tuck" they should correct this. There is precedence for this -- remember the "pine tar" replay?

    Here's what the NFL said:
    If defensive pass interference had been called, there would have been offsetting penalties (ineligible receiver against the Giants and pass interference against the 49ers), with the down replayed at the original line of scrimmage, the San Francisco 23-yard line. Although time had expired, a game cannot end with offsetting penalties. Thus, the game would have been extended by one untimed down.'
    Also, note that the holder could not have spiked the ball (contrary to Chris Collingsworth).

    More From the NYTimes and from the NYPost.

    And this is a good point:
    This is what doesn't add up: the Giants have 15 coaches and no one forcefully made the case that Rich Seubert was an eligible receiver and that the officials had blundered. Someone on Coach Jim Fassel's staff should have insisted that the Giants remain on the field until the referee Ron Winter had clarified the crew's call. Was the call not made because the other officials thought that Seubert was ineligible? Or did he simply feel that Seubert had not been interfered with. But there was never a clarification until yesterday when the N.F.L. released a statement blaming the officials for not making an interference call.
    Part of it is attributable to home field advantage -- the fans ran on to the field and the officials departed. If you're an official in Pittsburgh, New England or San Francisco and are called on to make a controversial call -- do you go against the home team? Or let's look at it another way -- if this game were in the Meadowlands, don't you think the officials would have got it right? Unless the teams were reversed and it were the 49ers getting screwed.
    From the Hotchpot. Now that its Bowers v. Hardwick and not Roe v. Wade up for overturning, the judicial leftists are trying to develop a rationale for overturning Supreme Court precedents. Here's Kenji Yoshino last month in the NYTimes. Here's the beginning of a three part series (second part here) by the Amar brothers. Here's a critiqueof the Amars by Joanne Mariner.

    The Boston Globe publishes a generally fawning piece on Sen. E. M. Kennedy. What is noteable is that the Globe doesn't gloss over Mary Jo Kopechne noting, first "Plutocrats' justice and an implausible (but effective) coverup ensued." The clicher is this admission: "...if his name were Edward Moore, he would have done time."

    I was flummoxed to see an interview with Richard Dooling in Christianity Today -- not because the man is not a worthy writer -- he's excellent. In fact, his book Brain Storm should be read by anyone who ever thinks about the notion of "hate crime." Or any lawyer, for that matter. It's just it doesn't seem to be the normal "religous" fare you'd see there -- it'd be like a seeing a discussion on Isaiah in Maxim. Anyway, what really intrigues me is that it mentions he's teaming up with Stephen King on a new show: Kingdom Hospital on ABC.

    A few months ago I went to lunch with an attorney in Raleigh -- there was a PETA truck outside. This attorney was planning on having a salad, but seeing the protestors, he decided to have a burger. I think I'm going to go to KFC this week.

    My picks for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, from the slate just announced, in order: Marcus Allen, Bob Kuechenberg, James Lofton, Ken Stabler, Art Monk, and Lester Hayes. Hank Stram, nominated by the Seniors committee is a lock. I'm disappointed that Allen is going to go in as a Chief, but I understand his hard feelings toward Al Davis.

    Last football thing: what was Giants safety Shaun Williams thinking? The defense is supposed to provoke the offense, not vice versa.

    Sunday, January 05, 2003

    Cover Watch: It's bandwagon time! Both Time and Newsweek gets on the Democratic bandwagon: Kim Jong Il is evil (maybe we shouldn't attack Iraq). Time is overt asking if Kim Jong Il is the Bigger Threat -- Newsweek simply calling him Dr. Evil.