The Need for “New”

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Photo credit: Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

The NY Times had an article today about President Obama’s new initiative on race. He’s starting a non-profit called “My Brother’s Keeper” to help disadvantaged minorities. He plans for MBK to be his base in his post-presidency activism. The good news is that he’s listening to poor kids themselves (“counseling and guidance”) rather than the extreme liberals (“more race-based affirmative action, entitlements, and privileges”):

A few minutes before, in a closed-door round-table discussion at Lehman College in the Bronx, Mr. Obama had asked a group of black and Hispanic students from disadvantaged backgrounds what could be done to help them reach their goals. Several talked about counseling and guidance programs.

Is Boxing over?

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There’s a good article in the NY Times about how boxing may be done. Pacquiao-Mayweather my be a billion dollar event, but after that, there’s not much else on the horizon. As they mention in the article, Wladimir Klitschko is the heavyweight champion, and he couldn’t sell out MSG.

I have to disagree with the idea that MMA is doing a great job. I think they’re doing a good job for what it is, but with the drugs, low pay, and questionable business decisions, it’s become more entertainment than sport. Jonny Bones just got stripped of his title–I had no idea that he was still around. Velasquez is the UFC Heavyweight Champion, and he hasn’t fought in two years.

Learning from losing

Great quotes by Freddie Roach:

“You learn more in defeat,” Roach added. “You can always tell a fighter, ‘You should’ve done this more, or that more,’ and he can’t say, ‘Yeah, but I won.’ “

The best adjustments in Pacquiao’s career followed his loss to Erik Morales in 2005, and his knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012, Roach said.

“Losing is not the worst thing in the world because it makes you better. I truly feel that,” Roach said. “I won my first 10 fights, lost my 11th, then won 17 straight after that because I knew I needed to work harder after taking a more experienced guy lightly.”

Eight prisoners executed in Indonesia

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Eight convicted drug smugglers were executed today for drug offenses in Indonesia. They were shot by a firing squad. Among the dead are two Australians, four Nigerians, on Brazilian, and one Indonesian. The Australian duo, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were convicted ten years ago while in their early twenties. The prisoners’ countries pleaded for leniency but were ignored.

I think it’s possible to respect Indonesia’s sovereignty while condemning this senseless act of violence. Some of the countries whose citizens Indonesia just executed are some of Indonesia’s biggest aid donors. There were also allegations of judge’s offering more lenient sentences in exchange for bribes.

Mom beats rioting son

Sorry for being MIA for the last few days. The chess season is officially over.

Notty sent the video above. According to the story, the mom grabbed and smacked her son after seeing him participating in the Baltimore riots. I hope the boy recognizes how lucky he is to have a mother who is willing to step up and set him straight.

In other news, Guppy also sent an article that says that the Bloods and the Crips have put aside their long-time feuding:

Marie Kondo and the art of cleaning up

Let’s take a break from Snoopy’s opinion on how Google and Apple hire “low level” programmers and consign them to unimaginative grunt work. Instead, I wanted to point you towards an interesting and imaginative talk given at…Google! Check out the video above on how to organize your home. I heard about Marie Kondo at about.com, which had an article about Marie being one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People. Learn more about her method here. See the NY Times article about her here.

Child support and no free lunch

A week and a half ago, I wrote about Walter Scott’s murder at the hands of a White police officer. His murder was wrong and immoral. I and most of the rest of the world condemned the murder.

Yesterday, the NY Times published an article about Walter Scott’s child support. The article helped answer the question on many people’s minds: why did Walter Scott run? It turns out that Scott had been in and out of jail because of a failure to pay child support. He had four children altogether, and he had lost jobs because of his failure to pay child support to two women–the woman who was raising his first two children, and an ex-wife who was raising his third and fourth children. The article is about the cycle of poverty that child support imposes on poor men, where their failure to pay child support becomes worse because of imprisonment.

Preservers of history

T.H. Tsien, from University of Chicago

T.H. Tsien, from University of Chicago


Interesting obituary on T.H. Tsien, who died recently at the age of 105. According to the obit, Mr. Tsien hid and smuggled rare books out of China when it was occupied by the Japanese. He successfully saved around 30,000 volumes at great risk–the books would have been burned and he would have been executed had he been caught.

Rest in peace.

No such thing as an individual sport

Everyone who follows chess saw a big tragedy go down this past week when arbiter Tony Rich forfeited Wesley So for writing inspirational phrases during a match. In doing so, Rich gave a free point to Varuzhan Akobian, who is a much weaker player (relatively speaking) than Wesley So. So explained that he didn’t know the rules. While I can see how writing on a piece of paper could be distracting to an opponent, I don’t see how that merits an immediate forfeit. I agree with Emil Sutovsky and Sam Shankland: a lesser punishment would have been more appropriate. Rich’s decision basically destroyed the entire event. The forfeit overshadowed everything else.

The Walter Scott murder

Above is the video of Walter Scott’s murder at the hands of a white police officer. Below is the video from the officer’s dash cam.

See the NY Times stories here and here.

It looks like Scott had a long court record, which may be why he took off and ran. But there really is no excuse here. The cop shot him in the back as he was running. There was clearly no threat. It looks like the cop claimed that he felt threatened and that Scott had taken his Taser, but this clearly wasn’t the case at the time of the shooting. If you look at the video, the cop even picks something up and drops it near Scott as Scott lays dying. Whether that object is a Taser or not is unclear. What is clear is that the cop was not under threat.