Category Archives: Uncategorized

Only Women Need Apply

The need for more women in STEM has become a mantra, accepted as a truism and blamed on sexism and the discouragement of women from participating in science education rather than women exercising their agency in choosing to focus their education elsewhere. The result has been an array of mechanisms to encourage women to major in STEM subjects.

new study released Tuesday found that 84% of about 220 universities offer single-gender scholarships, many of them in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. That practice is permitted under Title IX only if the “overall effect” of scholarships is equitable. The study, by a Maryland-based nonprofit advocating gender equity on college campuses, showed the majority of campus awards lopsidedly benefited women.

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Where Can Weinstein Get A Fair Jury?

For a brief moment, Harvey Weinstein was only the third most hated accused sex offender in America. Then Jeffrey Epstein took himself out of the running, and he’s back to the second spot, with trial looming in Manhattan next month. With his 29th* Dream Team now in place, Weinstein has moved for a change of venue.

“New York City is the least-likely place on earth where Mr. Weinstein could receive a fair trial,” wrote Arthur L. Aidala, a lawyer for Mr. Weinstein.

Certainly “news” of Weinstein’s guilt has been pervasive in the New York media, including “Mr. Weinstein’s name was mentioned online by Page Six, The New York Post’s irreverent gossip column, more than 11,000 times.” Even for the Post, that’s a lot. But it’s not merely the volume, or even the absolute certainty of Weinstein’s guilt, but the nature of the peculiar audience in Manhattan. Continue reading

Tuesday Talk*: Can There Be A “Day Zero”?

When the House of Representatives held hearings on H.R. 40, it went poorly. Not so much because the concept of creating a “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans” was itself a bad idea, but because the concern that it would devolve into a cesspool of obsequiousness or being ripped to shreds as a racist, or self-loathing black person, happened almost immediately. Coleman Hughes spoke against it, for which he paid dearly.

In memory of the first ship of African slaves to land at the colonies, the New York Times has published the 1619 Project.

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

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Altered Photo, Positive ID

It’s almost surprising this hasn’t happened before, but it’s happened now. Tyrone Lamont Allen was a suspect in four bank robberies. Why he was a suspect in the first place is unclear, as the most that could be said was that random callers who saw the image of the bank robber on TV said it looked like Allen, which isn’t much to go on,

But what was clear that one unique aspect of Allen’s appearance was missing from the images of the perpetrator and the description by witnesses. Allen had facial tattoos.

When asked to ID the perp from his mugshot, witnesses failed to pick Allen. This was a problem for the government, since they had already decided Allen was guilty but lacked the identification to prove it. They came up with a plan.

They covered up every one of his tattoos using Photoshop.

“I basically painted over the tattoos,’’ police forensic criminalist Mark Weber testified. “Almost like applying electronic makeup.’’

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Orange Cat . . . Caught

The big question around Casa de SJ was whether the hated, vicious, despicable terrorist, bad orange cat, was stupid enough to allow itself to be caught again. This morning, we have an answer.

This does not, of course, answer the overarching question about what I plan to do with the cat. For reasons that make my head hurt, many of you assumed I was seeking advice on how to either eradicate the “vermin,” turn it into my own precious pet or otherwise rid myself of this meddlesome cat. I was not. Continue reading

Separating The Brock Turner Problem

For very good reason, more attention has been spent addressing Stanford prawf Michelle Dauber’s war against now-former Judge Aaron Persky for not being nearly as harsh as she demanded, but only when she wanted, in imposing sentence on Brock Turner. But what about Brock Turner, who has now completed his jail sentence of six months, released in three for good behavior?

Cornell prawf Joseph Margulies parses the issues, unclouded by the the sort of rhetorical outrage used by Dauber to lead the townspeople with their torches and pitchforks.

But what exactly is the criticism in the Turner case? For many, the answer to this question is obvious—so obvious that they have not paused to consider the question carefully. But care is demanded, for in truth, there are two, very different complaints. Admittedly, they are related, but they reflect different criticisms about society. Observers have not paid sufficient attention to this complexity. But the solution endorsed by the State of California is likely to make one problem far worse, without making the other any better.

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Orange Cat Bad

First, a confession. I have a cat, to the extent a cat can be had. It’s an outdoor cat, a mouser, and it works to survive. It’s been here for more than 14 years now, always outdoors. Its name is “cat,” not because it was named that but because it wasn’t.

Cat, vigilantly guarding Casa de SJ

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Rebecca Blank’s Self-Created Cephus Dilemma (Update)

The jury swiftly found expelled University of Wisconsin student and football player Quintez Cephus not guilty. In a better world, that might be the end of the misery he’s been put through by the false rape accusations, but in a woke world, that’s not how it works.

No matter what UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank decides, she will be criticized.

Former Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Quintez Cephus, who was expelled from the university last semester after being accused by two women of sexual assault but was acquitted of those charges by a Dane County jury earlier this month, has petitioned for readmission to the university. The decision is up to Blank, who will likely face blowback from either black community leaders or sexual assault victims and advocates.

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Hug It Out

Crazy as it seems at first blush, those whose “real life” world consists of social media and, to the extent they come within touching distance of other human bodies, stand in a minefield of problematic words and actions such that the only safe course of conduct is an apology, could probably use a little physical contact.

They could, of course, go to a family member when they need a hug, but structural problems often get in the way. They live far away. They have “issues” with family members, real or imagined. It’s somehow different, even if it’s free. Enter “professional cuddlers.”

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Short Take: A New Paradigm

Neal Sonnett is something of a legend in white collar criminal defense, so he can be forgiven his legacy involvement in the criminal justice section of the ABA long after so many criminal defense lawyers have walked away from this suicidal dinosaur.

But as the battle roared over Resolution 114, which was presented to the ABA House of Delegates with support and co-sponsorship of Criminal Justice Section, and in light of the scathing criticism of this effort to sneak affirmative consent under the noses of the Section, the HOD and the profession to the extent endorsement by the ABA mattered to anyone, Sonnett felt compelled to issue a statement, courtesy of the Center for Prosecutor Integrity.

Statement of Neal Sonnett, Member of the ABA Criminal Justice Section,

to the House of Delegates, August 12, 2019

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