||[Jul. 9th, 2010|01:19 pm]
Bad news: The Republican governor of Hawaii vetoed the state's civil union bill.
Good news: A federal court in Massachusetts has declared part of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional! The decision will probably be appealed by the Department of Justice, even though Obama is supposedly against DOMA. (and yes, the DOJ would probably appeal regardless, but I'm still a bit annoyed at the fact that Obama is "against" DOMA but unwilling to spend any political capital about it)
Edit: A friend informed me that if the ruling is not appealed, it will only apply to Massachusetts (because that's the jurisdiction of the court that made the ruling). So we actually want it to be appealed, assuming that we can win again. Learn something new every day!
Funny and kinda sad news: A trader moved the global price of oil to an eight-month high in a "drunken blackout".
Exciting local news: The Chevrolet Volt will be launched in Austin (among other places) this year. Were I in the market for a new car, I would consider getting one. Maybe someday...
Thoughtful news: Why is cheating OK in football? (soccer) May be a little biased since it's from an English paper about England's non-goal, but it raises a good point. Just because you can get away with it doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. The ethics on the pitch seem to be "win at any cost" which is somewhat disappointing (see also: diving/faking injuries).
Somewhat surprising news: Mortgages over $1 million are being defaulted on at a much higher rate than cheaper ones. Although this quote:
“The rich are different: they are more ruthless,” said Sam Khater, CoreLogic’s senior economist.seems probably a bit unfair.
The story also said those were more likely to be second homes, so maybe there's less of an emotional attachment? So the decision becomes more business-oriented instead of family/future-oriented.
If the DOMA case actually makes it to the Supremes though, I have a feeling it would get overturned. The conservative block is too strong right now. We need some of those judges to be retiring rather than all the more liberal ones.
All the liberal Supreme Court justices are retiring because Obama is in office. They know that they can retire now and expect to be replaced by like-minded justices. Scalia, Thomas and co. will try to hold out at least until the pendulum swings back the other way, probably in 2012. It is sad that we have a system that encourages everybody to hope for something terrible and unexpected to befall the justices we don't like, but that's exactly what we have right now.
Interesting article about "cheating" in soccer. In my opinion, it's the referee who makes the calls and it's not the obligation of players to report their own fouls. Unlike tennis and a few other sports, there is no tradition of players self reporting infractions. In soccer, most many fouls are in a grey area anyway, but even in clear cases like the England goal even if the German goalie had tried to get the goal counted it wouldn't have been allowed by the referee.
What annoys me more is that players who spend the whole game faking dives to a to get a call and then complain when inevitably the referee calls a non-foul.
Perhaps not for reporting their own fouls (because that's mostly a judgment call anyway), but I don't think it's unreasonable to ask people to be honest about whether a ball they were trying to save went over the out-of-bounds line, for example.
I know there's no tradition of self-reporting these things, but it annoys me that the rule is then "fake as much as you can get away with".
(and...yeah! The whole diving thing bothers me for multiple reasons...)
I don't think soccer is any different than other sports in this respect. Do baseball pitchers call their own balls, or football players their own illegal tackles? The only "self-reporting" sports I can think of are golf and tennis neither of which are team sports and both have infractions that are simple and easy to see.
True, but when's the last time you saw the quarterback pretend to get sacked or the batter in baseball pretend to get hit by the pitch?
What I never understand about these "rouge trader" stories is why there aren't safety mechanisms in place. Why can one trader with no authorization gamble with such large amounts of money? At AMD, we had more protection to check-in code than these guys seem to have to gamble with millions of dollars.