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NYT to Serena: Actually, men have it worse on penalties

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Does a double standard exist in Grand Slam officiating? Serena Williams accused a judge at the US Open and the tennis world in general of being tougher on women who complain about calls on the court than on men. The New York Times rather bravely decided to go to the data, and reports that the opposite is true — that men draw a lot more penalties than women do.

But does this miss the point?

Serena Williams argued that she was subject to a double standard when she was cited for verbal abuse by the chair umpire Carlos Ramos during the United States Open women’s final last Saturday.

“There are men out here who do a lot worse than me, but because I’m a woman you are going to take this away from me?” she protested to Brian Earley, the tournament referee. “That is not right.”

Each situation should be evaluated on its own merits, but according to data compiled by officials at Grand Slam tournaments for the past 20 years, men are penalized more often for verbal abuse.

Those figures, obtained by The New York Times, show that from 1998 to 2018 at the four Grand Slam events, men have been fined for misbehavior with much more frequency than women with one significant exception: coaching violations.

That, of course, was the catalyst for the Williams controversy as she was losing to Naomi Osaka in the US Open final. The judge saw her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, flashing her signals from the stands, which is a violation whether Williams saw it or not. (Mouratoglou admitted he’d been signaling her from the stands but claimed that everyone does it.) In some tournaments, that’s not entirely against the rules, but it is at the US Open, and Ramos properly issued a warning for it. That enraged Williams, and her reactions started the process by which Williams ended up losing a point and a game for racket abuse and verbal abuse, respectively.

The data provided by the NYT gives us much more context for Williams’ complaint, but it doesn’t actually settle the question. There are two potential variables for which these numbers don’t account. The first variable is how often men and women actually commit these violations, rather than how often they get called on them. To put it another way: do men get flagged more because they actually behave a lot worse than women do on the court? That requires subjective analysis for which I’m unqualified (since I stopped watching tennis after growing tired of John McEnroe’s constant on-court whining), but my inexpert impression is that men act out on court far more than women do. YMMV, but if my impression ends up being correct, then the data provided by the NYT is an indication of something other than a double standard favoring women.

The second variable comes a lot closer to Williams’ actual complaint. Do judges have a lower threshold for calling penalties on women than they do for men? The data would tend to suggest not, but that’s only if you believe that men and women behave the same on court. The biggest complaint in the Williams controversy was that Ramos called the third penalty — which cost Williams a game — for being called a “thief.” Williams objects to that call on the basis that men say a lot worse on court and don’t get penalized. This also requires subjective analysis and a lot more study, but it’s at least possible that men are so badly behaved on court that judges have a higher threshold for calling penalties just to keep matches moving along. That would tend to create a double standard disfavoring women when penalties are called, or at least the impression of such a double standard.

None of this lets Williams off the hook. Her coach admittedly violated the first rule, and Williams dug her own grave by melting down over the warning. As the Times notes, Grand Slam rules against verbal abuse — the penalty that cost her a game — includes on-court rhetoric that “implies dishonesty or is derogatory, insulting or otherwise abusive.” Calling Ramos a “thief” and a “liar” explicitly violates that rule, and Ramos let Williams vent for quite some time before finally imposing the penalty.

However, the data alone doesn’t negate Williams’ broader challenge either, even if it does make it more difficult to establish. The best path forward is one offered by Martina Navratilova:

If, in fact, the guys are treated with a different measuring stick for the same transgressions, this needs to be thoroughly examined and must be fixed. But we cannot measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with. In fact, this is the sort of behavior that no one should be engaging in on the court.

Exactly. Men may engage more in it, or maybe women get flagged more in equivalent situations, but that’s beside the point. Play by the rules and stop whining, and this issue won’t matter much at all.

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Christine Ford Says “There Is Zero Chance” She Would Confuse Kavanaugh with Fellow Student in 36 Yr-Old Incident She Just Remembered 6 Yrs Ago

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Brett Kavanaugh, Georgetown Prep school classmate Chris Garrett

Is this a case of mistaken identity? 

Accuser Christine Blasey Ford is waging a war on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh with decades-old, unsubstantiated claims of sexual assault in an effort to derail his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Ford says she first remembered the 36-year-old incident just 6 years ago. Ford does not remember where it took place, when it took place, who was there but accused two other males of being present who have vehemently denied her accusations.

Judge Kavanaugh has categorically denied the allegations and even told Senator Orin Hatch he wasn’t at the party in question.

Ed Whelan, Justice Scalia’s former law clerk and president of conservative think tank the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), came out in defense of Brett Kavanaugh and said compelling evidence will come out next week exonerating Kavanaugh.


On Thursday afternoon, Ed Whelan started dropping pictures and evidence that may blow Christine Ford’s case wide open.

The “Maryland suburban home”–the scene of the alleged sexual assault described by Christine Ford to WaPo as being ‘not too far from the Columbia Country Club’ may have belonged to Kavanaugh’s friend named Chris Garrett, says Ed Whelan.

On Thursday night Ford’s attorneys insisted Ford knew it was Kavanaugh in the room.
Ford also said she would hang out with both men and socialized with them.

It will be interesting to hear what Judge Kavanaugh has to say about Ford’s latest claims.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

An attorney for Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, said Thursday that her appearing at a hearing on Monday to detail her claims is “not possible” but that she could testify later in the week.

Debra Katz, Ford’s lawyer, relayed the response to top staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, requesting to set up a call with them to “discuss the conditions under which [Ford] would be prepared to testify next week.”…

…Amid the maneuvering, the nomination was roiled further late Thursday by incendiary tweets from a prominent Kavanaugh friend and supporter who publicly identified another high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s as Ford’s possible attacker.

Ed Whelan, a former clerk to the late justice Antonin Scalia and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, pointed to floor plans, online photographs and other information to suggest a location for the house party in suburban Maryland that Ford described. He also named and posted photographs of the classmate he suggested could be responsible.

Ford dismissed Whelan’s theory in a statement late Thursday: “I knew them both, and socialized with” them, Ford said, adding that she had once visited the other classmate in the hospital. “There is zero chance that I would confuse them.”

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Dianne Feinstein: ‘Twas the media that outed Kavanaugh’s accuser

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Is that right? The way DiFi puts it here, you would think Christine Blasey Ford’s name appeared like a bolt from the blue in the pages of the Washington Post on Sunday afternoon. In reality, the press had spent the previous 72 hours murmuring about a mysterious letter in Feinstein’s possession that may or may not contain a serious allegation against Kavanaugh. No one would say what the letter alleged but the Intercept knew that Feinstein knew something about it. BuzzFeed also knew that Feinstein knew something. Under pressure, Feinstein herself announced that she had finally referred the matter to the FBI. After sitting on it for two months. Six days before the Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote.

All of which is a long way of asking: Who do you suppose it was that tipped the media to Ford’s accusations, putting them in a position to “out” her at the eleventh hour?

Tom Cotton has a zany theory.

Democrats outed her. Maybe not Feinstein personally or someone acting at her behest, but someone in the Capitol high enough up the chain to have known Ford’s name. (Given that the Intercept and BuzzFeed are both online-only outlets, I’d guess the leaker trended younger.) And the very obvious reason they did so was because they were frustrated that Feinstein had held this weapon for two months and never used it, even during the closed session of Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, leaving him on track to join the Court before the end of the month. A liberal, possibly on Feinstein’s own staff, shoved Ford into the spotlight for reasons of political expedience. Feinstein can babble all she likes about respecting the privacy of victims but them’s the facts.

Also, not to nitpick, but no one “outed” Ford. Unless I missed something, at no point did any media outlet reveal her identity against her wishes. She chose to speak on the record to WaPo over the weekend after Ronan Farrow and outlets like BuzzFeed came knocking, believing that someone *would* end up revealing her name against her wishes before long. But no one (I think) actually did so before the WaPo story came out. Whether Democrats might have been so frantic to stop Kavanaugh that they would have forced Ford’s name into print if she had declined to speak up this past weekend is a fascinating what-if. Probably they would have — which seems to have been Ford’s conclusion too. Again, so much for the privacy of victims.

Charles Cooke wonders if Ford ever really wanted to testify at all:

Dianne Feinstein has not yet submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee the original letter she was sent by the accuser. The Democratic party is almost universally calling for an FBI investigation that it knows full well is not going to happen, and should not happen, and using its absence as a reason for the hearing to be delayed. And, right on cue, certain figures on the Left have begun to play this both ways: Originally, the lack of an invitation to testify was cast as a “silencing act.” Now, the Senate’s broad invitation to the accuser to testify in whatever way she sees fit is being cast as . . . yes, as a “silencing” act. Perhaps there is something else going on here, but sure looks to me as if the aim is to delay, delay, delay — and keep the accuser as far as is possible from being required to take an oath.

Mark Judge and Patrick Smyth have both submitted statements to Grassley’s committee via counsel, notes Cooke. That’s enough for a criminal indictment if facts emerge to show they’re lying; submitting false information to a congressional panel amounts to lying to a federal official just as submitting false information during an FBI interview does. The one and only player in this drama who has yet to send a statement to the committee, as Cooke points out, is Ford herself. That’s curious, although of course not proof that she’s afraid to tell her story under oath. I think she will testify since that’s the foreseeable outcome of her decision to go on the record with WaPo. She knew that her testimony would be demanded after the story appeared and that it’d look very bad if she refused to provide it. She must have resolved to testify this past weekend, with the last few days of will-she-or-won’t-she drama little more than a PR play to frame the upcoming hearing as unfair no matter what happens.

Here’s Scarborough, who spends most of his time bashing the Trump Party nowadays, crystal clear on who it was that “outed” Ford.

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Sen. Lindsey Graham Fires Off Midnight Tweet: “Kavanaugh Nomination is Still on Track – Stay Tuned!”

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Senator Lindsey Graham; Photo: Twitter avatar

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) fired off a midnight tweet praising President Trump and reassured the American people that Kavanaugh’s nomination is still on track.

“Stay tuned!” Lindsey Graham said.

“Great job tonight by President @realDonaldTrump in Las Vegas laying out how strong America has become economically and how much safer we are with a strong military.”

Graham then said: The President is dead right about Judge Kavanaugh being highly qualified, the right person for the job, and also right about letting process play out.

Kavanaugh nomination is still on track. Stay tuned!


Senator Lindsey Graham was referring to the President’s comments during his rally in Las Vegas wherein he praised Brett Kavanaugh.

Graham has certainly changed his tune as of late–usually no ally to the President, he vowed to get Brett Kavanaugh confirmed as quickly as possible.

Christine Ford has accused–without corroborating evidence–Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a drunken high school pool party decades ago.

Accuser Christine Blasey Ford believes she runs the U.S. Senate as she continues to make outrageous demands of how and when her hearing will be held.

The lawyer for Christine Blasey Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee her demands for her public testimony at a hearing–preeminent is that Judge Brett Kavanaugh testify first and that he not be allowed to be in the hearing room when she testifies, reported TGP’s Kristinn Taylor.

Laura Ingraham reported the scheduled Monday hearing where Kavanaugh and Ford were invited to testify may be postponed. Kavanugh accepted but Ford has declined so far to appear Monday.

“Two sources have told me that @SenateMajLdr is WAVERING and may ask to further delay Monday hearing. GOP base will be in full revolt if so. Tune in tonight!”

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