Monday, September 26, 2005

My freinds are cooler than yours

As evidenced by the fact that they (well she really--Adina Brickman) play football in international fora. How many frum women can say that?!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Persecution and the Art of Blogging

In an effort, no doubt, to give evidence for Leo Strauss's theory that in times of persecution writers had to hide their meanings in their works so as to avoid censorship, the leftist organization Reporters Sans Frontieres has released a handbook to inform bloggers who live under tyrannical regimes how they can avoid censorship. The main technique for avoiding censorship appears to be for a blogger not to disclose his identity. This allows the bloggers to say whatever they want about the regimes under which they live with a lower level of risk of persecution since the government cannot identify them. This is significantly easier than what earlier authors had to do, according to Strauss's theory, since unknown bloggers can disclose their true meaning without having to hide it in the text of their document. Nonetheless, I wonder how safe their anonymous disclosures can be from increasingly techno-savvy regimes. If I were dissenting in a regime that might kill me for it, I still might follow the old method of hidden meanings. But perhaps this is a sign of my own cowardliness.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Schumer, Roberts and Dr. Zhivago

I have tried to pay pretty close attention to the hearings (especially now that I might get questions about it at work), but alas, I was not able to give my undivided attention to the proceeding the past few days. I have, however, tried to keep up with Schumer's remarks to Roberts.

Now the question, to my mind, is not whether Roberts will be confirmed, but whether the Dems should endorse him. Frankly, I think he is a wonderful candidate and will make a fine justice, but what I have heard of the hearings the last four days really upsets me. Through hours and hours of questions, through three days of questioning the most substantive things Roberts told the commission was that he believes in the right to privacy, as found in the liberty clause of the 14th amendment and that two of his favorite movies are "Dr. Zhivago" and "North by Northwest," the man was a tar baby.

Generally I felt that Roberts was taciturn on many issues which were "softballs" (in the words of Schumer-like stupid comments of Pat Roberts and asking for an apology for using the word "amigo" in a memo). More importantly though, he repeatedly refused to answer direct questions from senators about his view of the law. While I think that questions like, "Well, how would you have voted on Kelo?" are stupid, questions which ask how he understands basic legal principles like the interstate commerce clause (which he kind of did open up to Schumer on day 4) ought to be taken seriously. That he was not forthcoming indicates to me that he knew he would be confirmed and thus any answer would only put him at risk.

In Schumer's remarks today I think he said as much when he announced he would vote against the nomination. Again, the senate vote by Schumer is not one for Roberts's conformation, but against meaningless hearings.

Not Just a Jewish thing...

So women want to stay home. This is not new. The question is why? Why don't these women feel that their future husbands should sacrifice their careers instead?

Belated Birthday Blessing

17 Elul, exactly two months after my birthday, was Shmuli's birthday. Though I searched ויקיפדיה and Wikipedia, I was unable to find lists of famous people born on that day or famous events that happened. We shall have to settle for Shmuli's birth as a momentous enough day, without which Yavneh and probably the entire U of C Hillel would not exist.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Racism at the U of C

One of the little mini-controversies over the Roberts nomination was his use of the term "War Between the States" rather than "Civil War". The former supposedly suggests segregationist sympathies. It seems to me that both terms are equivalent in their neutrality. The official U.S. term is "War of the Rebellion" clearly takes sides but almost nobody uses that one. There apparently is also a name for the Civil War that clearly takes the side of the South. I used to know a Southern fellow at the University of Chicago who would refer to the "War of Northern Aggression". For this fellow's sake he best not choose a vocational field where liberal sentiment is strong. In any case, if Roberts' use of "War Between the States" shows insufficient opposition to segregation, then what are we to say of my former acquaintance?

UPDATE: To be fair, I understood this fellow to be speaking in jest. As another mini-controversy from the Roberts nomination shows, however, that won't save you from stern reprimands from Senatorial blowhards.

On September 15, 1980

my wife was born. As per our prenuptial agreement (not to give gifts to eachother) I did not give Rachel a birthday present. Not only have I always held true to my promise to Rachel, I have also forgiven her for the few times she broke her corresponding promise to me. Given that we share our wealth, we both feel it is silly to purchase something the other obviously chose not to purchase.

I will admit that I have been criticized by other married men for my practice. "Never mind what Rachel says," they argue, "all women are crazy and need gifts to feel appreciated." I ask the married and committed men among you - are your women sane enough to appreciate you NOT getting them gifts?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Dunk the Man from US News

I would assume that many people who read this page are disgruntled with the US News rankings of Chicago (15, tied with Brown, ew). Here is a quick way to get a little esteem back through silly ratings contests. The Chicago Tribune is having an online poll of the seven great wonders of Chicago, of which one nominee is UofC. So get out there and vote!

My picks were:
1. Chicago Blues
2. The Lakefront
3. Millenium Park
4. Wriggley Field
5. Sears Tower
6. The Watertower
and 7. the UofC

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I was particularly impressed with R'Ovadia's recent statements, correlating Katrina with Bush's support of the disengagement. Throw in the racist statements, and it surpasses all inflammatory remarks that he has made in the past.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

מזל טוב

It is my pleasue to wish Oren Bassik and Miriam Gedwiser mazal tov on the occasion of their engagement.

I am almost as happy as a jumping monkey.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Economics of Katrina

I am sort of confused about the economics of city building, maybe on of you could help me out.

Let's say a city is worth X. X is probably a pretty big number considering all the infrastructure and revenue a city produces. Then Y is the amount of money it would cost to rebuild that city. Y can also be seen as "how bad do you really want it?" Obviously if Y is greater than X you just scrap the city and start over somewhere else. It also seems to indicate (to me, at least) that the value of the city is X+Y or the "actual" value of the city plus "how much do you really want it?" As it appears that no one is really talking about scrapping New Orleans just yet, which would indicate that cities are hugely undervalued. If there is enough capital to rebuild the entire city from scratch (almost) then the New Orleans market was hugely undervalued for all those years that it was not underwater (and thus every other major city). Is the "market" on N.O. that off-base or has it really been accounting for this risk all along?

Happy 10,000!

Thanks you for all the clicks over the past year. 10,000 clicks is a lot of clicks. I should know, I probably made half of them myself!