Tuesday, April 28, 2009

But No Horsetrading

One of the odd things about Sen. Specter's announcement is that it does not appear as if he bargained for any committees. The Dems got a +1 and really did not have to trade anything away except a "player to be named" i.e. not to contest him in 2010. It will be interesting to see if he gets any committee chairmanships.

In light of this Snowe remarked: the party's message has been, “Either you're with us or you’re against us.”

The GOP's in trouble. The harder you whip, the harder you fall.

Monday, April 27, 2009

West Wing: The Obama Administration

When I began watching the West Wing I found it a bit implausible that so much could happen in one season. A war, budget fiasco, infidelity scandal, air strike on a hostile nation all in one year?! Come on. Well, I formally rescind my skepticism. Here is my list of episodes for the first 100 days of the Obama administration:

1. Inauguration & oath misfire
3. Confirmation-gate(s)
4. pseudo State of the Union
5. Closing GitMo, torture memos
6. Pirates!
7. Mexican drug war
8. North Korean ICBM test
9. Swine-flu

Update: 10. Specter switches parties
11. Bo the dog (would probably be wrapped up into another episode)
12. Pakistan (two episodes)
13. Nuclear North Korea
14. Sotomayor (like Glen Close and Justice Mendoza rolled into one)
15. GM and Chrysler bankruptcy

Only a 100 days in and already we'd be shaping up for a very entertaining season. I wonder what the season finale will be (G-d forbid life imitate art).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kalonomos Cohn's New Blog

My friend, Kalonomos Cohn, who is still not on facebook, has started a philosophical blog. It is a bit heavy, but is highly recommended.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Presidential Trends

Republicans: Iraq::Democrats: ?

Well, Bush 41 invaded Iraq, Clinton invaded Somalia, Bush 43 invaded Iraq and Obama ... crap.

My favorite pirate quote: “Every country will be treated the way it treats us,” Abdullahi Lami, one of the pirates holding a Greek ship anchored in the pirate den of Gaan, a central Somali town, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying in a telephone interview.

Does that mean if we give them flowers and chocolate that they will give us flowers and chocolate?!! They are freaking pirates, they are never going to be nice ... unless ...

On a personal note, I am walking a narrow plank thin line between thinking pirates are pretty cool and being gravely concerned with the new pirate scourge on the high seas. OK, maybe I'm not doing such a good job...

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Limits of Time

It doesn't seem like I got much done today. I woke up at 6:40, went to the gym, minyan, home, showered, made lunch and then stalled until 11a. I was in class from 11 until 6, Penn & Inklings from 7-8 (which counts as work as far as the life of the mind) and then back to the department from 9-12, but only working 2 of those three hours. So what is that? 7+1+2, ten hours of work. Not as bad as what I feared. So what would a really productive day look like?

Let's say you get back from minyan at 8:30 and you give yourself an hour to turn around (Email, NYT, shower, make lunch, FB). Work from 9:30-6:30 an hour and a half for dinner and then another four hours at the department. That's 13 hours, which is about the upper limit over any non-small stretch of time. The day seems like more than 13 hours can be squeezed out of it, but I just don't think it can, absent serious quality of life compromises.

If you were crazy and had your meals served to you at your desk you could probably get six hours of sleep, an hour for turn around (wake up, shower, get into the apartment, take clothes off), an hour commute and a half an hour for davenning leaves 24-8.5, fifteen and a half. So the margin between productive and paralysis is only 2.5 per day. There just really ought to be more time.