Saturday, December 19, 2009

Go Sox

I love this piece, mostly because it is accompanied by the perfect photo of Professor Nussbaum. It's 100% "Oh yeah, I'm actually even more badass than you knew. Turns out, that is possible."

The Physics of Space Battles

One of the coolest sci-fi-esque articles I've read in a long time.

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's Superfederalist!

The compromise the Senate finally hammered out on Stupak's language was that states can impose the Stupak rules on their own exchanges, but the rules will not be imposed by the federal legislation (apparently, somehow, there will be at least one plan per state guaranteed to have abortion coverage).

But David Waldman says that isn't far enough: "I think states should leave the abortion question up to the counties. Then I think counties should leave the abortion question up to municipalities. Then the neighborhoods should leave the abortion question up to each block." And then each block, to the household, and household member.

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Travel" Day

I'm flying to Florida tomorrow.

Hahaha! Obviously, I'm kidding. What I'm really going to do is wake up at the crack of dawn, try to get to the airport through a hellicious snowstorm, sit in the terminal as my plane is delayed indefinitely, and then eventually go home once it is canceled.

UPDATE: Never even made it out of my bedroom. We made a judgment call that our flight wasn't going to ever get out. Right call: It was delayed until 2:00 before it was canceled (it was scheduled for 10:00 AM).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Espino Carleton Connection

Miguel Espino (20-2-1, 9 KOs), the handpicked opponent for Kelly Pavlik's return from a hand injury, doesn't have much of chance to win his fight this weekend. But he does have a sibling who attended Carleton College. So now, he's automatically one of my favorite fighters.

(His sister apparently transferred out to CSU-Northridge to be closer to their legally blind mother. But once a Carl, always a Carl -- I've known a few people who transferred out who later transferred back in. We hold on to our own).

It's Tough Being Meek

I may have spoken too soon regarding the impact of Marco Rubio's recent surge in his Republican primary Senate race against Charlie Crist. Though the conventional wisdom held that Meek would had a better shot against the far-right Rubio than the centrist and popular Crist, a new poll has Rubio with a considerably wider lead over Meek than Crist does -- mostly because Rubio has nailed down the support of the right more effectively.

I still think in the context of a general election race, the conventional wisdom is right that Meek is better off against Rubio than Crist, but this does give one pause.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Traveler's Roundup

The writing just ain't happening, and for that I apologize. I'm packing today, flying home tomorrow morning (and pretty soon after that turning right around and flying out to Florida).

* * *

Cancel tax-exempt status for funders of the settlements. I had some pretty harsh words for the Hebron fundraiser mentioned in the post.

Doing some research, I stumbled across this old profile/interview with legendary organizer Saul Alinsky.

Good news for my summer employment: DC is leading the pack of cities seeing earlier-than-expected economic recovery.

It's hard to believe that Joe Arpaio is real, let alone popular. But if ever there was someone whose hubris is going to bring about his downfall, I'd tag him for the honor.

Lou Dobbs has been huffing glue (how's that for hyperbole?).

Marco Rubio has all the momentum in the Florida Senate Republican primary. Good news for Democrats -- Kendrick Meek was dead in the water against the popular government, but has a strong chance against the extreme-right Rubio.

Tim Starks has his nominees up for knockout of the year. There really is only one choice (Pacquaio KO2 Hatton), but they're still fun to watch (any other year, Randall).

Columbia introduces co-ed rooms. Fun quote: "I was shocked enough last year when we moved our son in and we saw that guys and girls shared a bathroom on the hall," said Laura Hannon, whose son, Michael, is a Columbia sophomore. "If it had been our daughter, we would have turned around and walked straight out." But since it's your son, happy hunting!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Come and Sing with Me!

Done with exams, done with exams, done-done-done-done-done with exams!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wind Down Roundup

One more exam to go. Jill just left to go home for break (she'll be coming to DC for New Years), so I'm all alone.

* * *

Military engineers are pioneering so-called "guilty robots" -- robots with complex ethical programming designed to make them better at following the rules of war than humans.

The Nevada brothel industry is now open to men. It was actually just a technicality that had kept male prostitutes out (they can't get a "cervical exam"), but hey, gender equality!

A great profile in Tablet magazine about Salam Fayyad, Palestinian Prime Minister and the man Shimon Peres calls "the Palestinian Ben-Gurion".

Houston became the largest city in the US to elect an openly-gay mayor.

BRICUP may have invited a racist to speak before them, but don't worry, they were quite eager to justify it through dialogue and explanation.

The bill targeting ACORN grants was ruled an unconstitutional bill of attainder. Adam Serwer reminds us of why it is a bad thing for Congress to appoint itself a quasi-judiciary and make determinations of guilt and innocence in response to popular akrasia.

Obama doesn't have a Jewish problem. Rinse, wash, repeat, until it sinks in.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

IDF Ordered to Cut Ties with Rejectionist Settler Yeshiva

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor) ordered the IDF to sever its connections with a far-right Yeshiva which had been urging IDF soldiers to refuse orders to evacuate the settlements.
"The defense minister views with considerable gravity any instance of insubordination and he is not ready to accept any deviation from what he views as a red line," the statement read.

"The actions and statements of Rabbi Melamed undermine the foundations of Israeli democracy, actions which incited some of his students to refuse orders, take part in demonstrations, and harm the spirit of the IDF, [actions] which have no place in a properly functioning country."

MK Michael Ben-Ari, of the extremist right-wing party National Union, was displeased:
"Barak, in his belligerent manner, is harming the security of the state of Israel," Ben Ari said. "Canceling the arrangement with the heroes of the Har Bracha yeshiva is a heavy-handed move that is meant to inflate the ego of a politician who is at the end of his road."

"Those who will be harmed [by the move] are the IDF and the state of Israel," the MK said.

Because the IDF is stronger when it is populated by soldiers taught to disobey legal orders. That makes sense.

Fun fact: MK Ben-Ari is a Kahanist and the guy who, responding to the terrorist burning of a West Bank Mosque, stated that "those who wish to wipe out the Jewish people must not expect us to identify with their symbols and centers of incitement. I ran out of condemnations when the synagogues at Gush Katif were burned."

Expel the Darkness

A group of rabbis from the religious Zionist tradition are visiting the Mosque that was burned down by Jewish extremists earlier this week.
Dozens of rabbis and activists from the Religious Zionist camp will visit Sunday the West Bank Palestinian village of Yasuf to protest against the torching of the village's main mosque and to send a message of reconciliation to the Muslim population, Ynet has learned.

During their visit, they will lend a hand in the clean-up and refurbishing efforts at the mosque. They will also donate a number of Korans in place of those that were burned in the fire.
Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, who heads the yeshiva on the religious kibbutz Maale Gilboa, initiated the event together with Rabbi Avia Rosen from Ein Hanatziv and Rabbi Shmuel Reiner. Rabbi Gilad said, "We came to expel darkness, especially during the days of Hannukah. Light is not added by hurting our brothers, the Muslims, who are the servants of God just as we are. This is an important message to relay."

According to Rabbi Gilad, rabbis from across the spectrum of Religious Zionism and from areas throughout Israel are expected to partake in the event that was put together just Sunday morning. "This is not a political protest, but a humanitarian, moral, and religious issue. We have seen and heard condemnations (of the mosque arson) from both ends of the political spectrum," said Rabbi Gilad.

Rabbi Menachem Froman, the rabbi of the town of Tekoa who speaks with a lot Muslim religious figures, said that the response on the other side was considerable. He noted that the visit is being coordinated with the Palestinian military governor in the region.

"They are receiving us openly. We will drink coffee with them. We will speak about the halachic opposition to what happened there on Friday and just how harsh such an act is from its (halacha's) perspective. We will make a joint prayer for peace," said Rabbi Froman.

Rabbi Froman said that at the conclusion of the event, his son, who speaks Arabic, will sing an Arabic version of the Hannukah song "We Have Come to Expel Darkness" (Banu Hoshech Legaresh).

A good gesture, and a needed one.