Thursday, July 28, 2005

A travesty of a column

USA today published an offensive and obscene column which was wrong no it wasn't ppolitical but anyone who listens to the White Sox on the radio will agree with me. see here

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Sister who mysteriously fell of the Face of the Blog for weeks at a time

Not as clever as Talia's title, perhaps, but nonetheless descriptive.

Oh, family, family, darling, darling, much-missed family! To be perfectly fair this post should be an in-depth description of the craziness that is my summer, but I just wrote a long summary of all that for my friends, and those of you who really care have probablyu discovered it in person or through the Momophone.
So instead I will be true to family tradition and talk politics. I happen to have a great chance to do that, since I am surrounded in the Kollel by leftists, which I suppose is status quo for Boston, although the director is more libertarian/ conservative. But anyway, most of the boys are the real deal, Bush-bashing, universal health care pushing, you name it. One is a self descriped Marxist and says that the Vietname War was wrong not for the traditional reasons, but because Communism is good and it would have been great if they would have come to America. I kid you not, nor do I Exaggerate. But he is a bit nutty and atypical, to be fair.
A couple of days ago we went to a rally about Darfur as a group. I really think the cause is an important one, but I could not stop cracking up. Rabble rousing in general amuses me, but alos becuase it was so anti-Bush. All the speakers yelled at him for not doing enoug, although no one suggested yelling at the UN. One of the best gimmicks was sending him a giant watch, because his must be broken, because he said that he would not allow genocide on his watch. Get it? I don't. The pun is so poor that it almost makes you think that they're stupid enough have gotten the meanings mixed up. But it did get a big round of applause.

I should write more, but I'm too tired.

Love and miss you all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Day in Talk

Today talk radio was particularly interesting which each host having a unique theme. First Dennis Prager had a Dutch conservative columnist on. The columnist said he thought the Dutch people were actually conservative regarding their country while liberal otherwise. They talked about the Dutch reaction to terror and also the reaction to the assasination of Van Gogh and the columnist who was running for prime minister and killed by an animal-rights nut job. Then Michael Medved talked about his money topic the decline of Hollywood. He felt that the problem was values and though I agree I'd say that they made more money for a long time with bad values the real problem is that they make bad movies. Think of the last time the main movies of a week weren't remakes or sequels. Also the previews for Wedding-Crashers make it look stupid and from experience Star Wars was comicly bad.
I have to say a well made logical movie with bad values is probably more interesting than the most moral movie without talent. Example Monty Python is more entertaining then where did the Aleph Beis Go?. Also In the category of at least it wasn't Woody Allen Oliver Stone will direct the first 9/11 movie. (Spoiler Karl Rove was really the 20th hijacker and the administration did it to get oil and kill the airline unions.)
Michael Savage was his usual crazy self. If you have been following Tom Tancredo's remarks then you will realize even the conservatives are backing off of it. However Mr. Savage felt that the conservativre movement is dead since only Mr. Tancredo is standing by the remark to nuke Mecca. Tancredo answers my question of what Michael Savage would be like if he held elective office.
Hugh Hewitt rounded out the day with an attempt to fix his lack of counterbalance to The SoCal head of CAIR. Basically he was looking to show he didn't stand with Tancredo so he brought the head of Cair on. Throughout the interview when he sidestepped questions like do you support Hamas and does Israel have a right to exist. Mr. Hewitt was looking for a counterpoint. unfortunately the only one he could find was Dr. Morey who had written a book advocating the threat of nuking Mecca. When pressed for a source he would say look at World Net Daily or Jack Morriss's intelligence site. Today Hugh brought the SoCal head of CAIR back on with Hugh's expert Frank Gaffney against him. The head of CAIR was clearly exposed as supporting terrorism. See here for transcript

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Strange New York Times Lines

The New York Times has an article today about an Orthodox Rabbi associating with evangelicals. So far, one paragraph has jumped out at me:

In 1980, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Rev. Bailey Smith, seemed to confirm this stereotype when he publicly declared that ''God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.'' The grandees of the Jewish establishment were outraged, but Eckstein saw an opportunity. He contacted Smith and offered to accompany him on a trip to Israel.
In Jerusalem, Smith and Eckstein were given the royal treatment. Prime Minister Menachem Begin, having previously lost seven straight national elections, had few illusions about the efficacy of Jewish prayer.

I'm in general pretty dubious about testing whether prayer works. But its truly bizarre to claim that prayer doesn't work because people lose elections. After all, everybody is praying that their candidate wins the election, so we should expect God favors the side with more votes. Strangely enough, that's exactly who wins ( in a well functioning democracy).

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Do not challenge me

for my prescience is unparalleled. As evidence I give you my posts here and here with my predictions. Notice both are dated prior to the events I accurately predicted.

The Secret Order?

In my first day of work for the Republicans I was asked to look up consultant who offered his services and see if he was a Republican. (I know I sound like J. Edgar Hoover.) And One of the major results on his googled name was that he was a Mason (Not J. Mason). This leaves a question to all the conspiracy buffs. Why would an order plotting world domination put its members so prominently up on a website.

Liveblogging Propaganda

I currently being used to produce propaganda for the University of Chicago. Even as I write, I am being carefully posed for pictures in a brochure for the GSB. The photographer just gave us a lecture, telling us that even though we are PHd students and very smart, he's a professional photographer, and knows how to make pictures that look natural. So far, the photographer hasn't done very much unnatural. He hasn't given us make-up, or more attractive clothing (Nobody would believe the pictures if we showed any sense of style). However, I am in my second room of a few minutes, and I may go to the computer room soon.
Even though all the people in the pictures are reall students, they are wildly misleading. Through random chance most of the students around today are women. If any of my readers ever apply to the University of Chicago GSB do not be misled, the students are mostly men. The students who happened to be around accurately reflected the diversity of the phd students, mostly white and a decent number of Asians and Indians. In an accurate reflection of the class, almost 50% of the people are Jewish. The photographer has a website, so we can see if the pictures ever show up.

Roberts is old news

The question is, who's next.

According to news accounts, Bush interviewed five candidates over the weekend. Roberts, Wilkinson, Luttig, Edith Clement, and Edith Jones. Three premier jurists, two women, and no hispanics. Roberts got the nod, of course. Are the other four in the running for the next retirement? Bush may feel that he can only afford one white male, and Luttig and Wilkinson missed their best shot. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised that Bush ignored PC orthodoxy with this pick and may do so again. In any case Luttig and Wilkinson probably head the white male non-Senator category for the future. If Bush was sincerely interviewing Clement and Jones then they correspondingly probably head the female category. It is possible that Bush had already decided to name one of the men and had the Ediths along for show. If so, they may not actually head the female category.

The third category is hispanic and the question is what happened to Garza? If Garza's confirmation is at issue , it would be because he has explicitly criticized Roe in a concurrence applying Roe. Edith Jones has done the same, however and was still a finalist. I suspect that Bush wants to appoint Gonzalez to the Court, but will do so only when one of the liberal justices retires and if Rhenquist is replaced by someone the "base" trusts. If Rhenquist and Stevens go together, I think Bush will go with Gonzalez as CJ and Edith Jones as AJ. If Rhenquist goes next alone, I think it's Roberts as CJ and one of the Ediths as AJ. If Stevens goes first Bush will go Gonzo unless he thinks the "base" will feel betrayed, in which case he chooses Edith Clement.

The Sister Who Said Shalom

(Yes, I think only Tobie will get that reference. Out of desperation I started reading this really poorly written Jewish(e.g. references to mother guilting)/Israeli (e.g. references to falafel) detective story. Just to make sure that people buy the book out of tribal identification its called The Murderer Who Said Shalom.)

Anyway I've got a week left in Bar Ilan and then I fly to New York next thursday to begin research on p_l__d__m n_n_p__t____s (checking how well you read previous posting). Tobie I'd like to speak to you not just to find out how life in kollel is going but also to make plans to see you. Could you email me when's a good time to call you (within the frameworks of 8am-2am my time).

Thank you to Rachel for entrusting me with your credit card information. For anyone who doesn't read the comments on old posts we sent flowers to Uncle Beck and sons and its from all the kids in our family (its supposed to be delivered today).

It's such a great title for a post that I feel I should load it up with more information, but that's about all I have to say.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The New York Times is Creepy

The New York Times has hated political blogs for a long time. But that hatred at least makes sense, the political blogs disagree with and vehemently criticize the New York Times. But they're now sliming everybody with a personal blog. Yesterday they had article by a woman who read her nanny's blog, and then gathered all the embarassing parts and reported them out of context. This article is legal, after all the goal of a blog is for random strangers to read about your personal life. But it's not fair, especially because the New York Times doesn't link to the blog, so readers won't get the nanny's side of the story. If you want her reply go to

Is Janice Rodgers Brown a liberal judge?

Todd Zwycki comments on a study of decisions by six judges who are considered Supreme Court possibilities. The ranking from the study is not what I would have expected with Janice Rodgers Brown the least conservative and Wilkinson the most.


Composite Ideology

Janice Rodgers Brown (SCOCA)


Frank Easterbrook


Emilio Garza


Edith Jones


J. Michael Luttig


J. Harvie Wilkinson


U.S. Court of Appeals Average


There are three components: criminal justice, civil rights and liberties, and economic and labor regulation. It may be that Janice Rodgers Brown's score reflects different sorts of cases heard in California's Supreme Court or perhaps just different law being applied.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Toilet Training for Normal People

When toilet training a young boy it is best to dress him in shirts perhaps a little short.

New photos

We have new photos on our web site!

Monday, July 11, 2005


And now for the rest of the story. The City of New London redevelopment projected envisioned a riverwalk (I guess a riverfront boardwalk), restaurants, stores and a museum. But the nub of the dispute in the Supreme Court was a parcel to be taken to build an office building for Pfizer, something that certainly feels like a private use but also the economic anchor of the project and key to generating the 1,000 new jobs the project was supposed to create.
OK. Justice Stevens wrote an opinion joined by Justices Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer and Kennedy, which said that public use has been interpreted to mean public purpose since the 19th Century and that economic development is indistinguishable from the public purposes that have been found to be sufficient in the Court's earlier cases on the subject. If there is a problem here, States can deal with it through their own state constitutions and eminent domain laws.
Justice Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion in which he said that if the primary purpose had been to benefit private parties, and the public benefits were only incidental, he would say the taking was unconstitutional but here the record showed to his satisfaction that the primary purpose was to benefit the public and the private benefits were incidental
Justice O'Connor wrote a dissent joined by Justices Scalia and Thomas and Chief Justice Rehnquist. O'Connor said that economic development should not be regarded as a legitimate public use to justify the taking of unblighted private property. She also said that the rule adopted by the Court was particularly bad for the poor and minorities whose properties were most likely to be underdeveloped and who have less political clout.
Justice Thomas wrote a separate dissent, for himself alone, which said that the Supreme Court's precedents on the subject (dating back to 1896) were wrong and that public use should be limited to property that the government takes for itself or gives the public the right to use.
OK. What do I think? Hard case. Good arguments on both sides. Potential bad consequences however the case is resolved. I'm going to reserve judgment a while. You be the judges. What do you think?

Chaim's speech Assessment

Today Chaim had an evaluation by the Chicago Public Schools. The psychologist and speech therapist were very nice to him, and they seemed to know what they were doing, but I doubt they were able to get good data. Instead, they mostly got to observe Chaim throwing a tantrum. Part of this was CPS's fault, they are willing to spend hundreds of dollars (my estimate of the cost, I have no numbers) to evaluate a child, but not willing to make sure the evaluation works.

1)The waiting room had no toys, and the TV wasn't working. I'm not a child psychologist, but I'm pretty sure that preschool children don't sit quietly in chairs and wait nicely.

2)They scheduled the appointments all on one day. Before the evaluation, I was happy with it, because it was convenient for me. But it was obviously too much for Chaim, he was willing to go along with the psychologist for 45 minutes, but he wasn't happy with the speech therapist (she also took his pacifier away, which never improves his mood). By the time he got to the vision and hearing screen he absolutely refused to participate, and my meeting with the nurse was done while listening to him tantrum for 15 minutes, and then fall asleep. If there had been 3 separate appointments he probably would have been adequate for all 3.

3)The normal procedure is to meet with the parents and decide everything right after the assessments. We were warned in advance, so we rescheduled the meeting, otherwise I would have had to make decisions while dealing with Chaim, and not able to consult Shmuli.

Of course, a lot of Chaim's problems were my fault too. I should have made sure he got to bed earlier (He fell asleep at 9:45 and then got up at 7:00). I shouldn't have brought his pacifier with me, I was hoping he would willingly spit it out in the car, but I knew I was taking a big chance. Nevertheless, I'm always happy to blame a big bureaucracy, rather than my own decisions.

Aunt Shirley

If you'd like to write a card to the family the address is:
335 Central Ave
Wilmette, IL 60091-1941
I really feel that Aunt Shirley cared for the kids of our family so much and was always interested in our lives and seeing us and feeding us even if it entailed so much more effort and so something from us would be especially meaningful.

It might also be nice if we send flowers together. I don't have a credit card-but if someone else has I would be happy to chip in.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Baruch Dayan Emet

Aunt Shirley died today. The funeral will be in Sheboygan on Tuesday. I remember going to her house for parties so many times, from when I was a little kid, to Dad and Aunt Charlotte's birthday party last year. It must have been so hard to plan a nice party, and then clean up after all the little kids, but she always loved us so much. I hope that she is now enjoying a party where somebody else does all the work.

KiddyLAnd photos couldn't get em all

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Kashrut in Israel.

Talia I've heard from R' Moshe that some Mehadrin hechshers in Ramat Beit Shemesh are saying that a restaraunt open past 7:00 p.m. (kollel time) isn't kosher is this true.

Friday, July 08, 2005


I saw in the newspaper today that legislation has been introduced to overturn, or restrict the impact of, the Supreme Court's Kelo decision. Among the co-sponsors are Tom Delay and Maxine Waters.
I also read the decision today. Fascinating. Let me tell you about it.
The facts are fairly simple. As part of a redevelopment project intended to improve the City's economy and tax base, and after hearings, and a promise to pay just compensation, the City of New London used its eminent domain power to take private homes that were not blighted to sell the land to other private entities that planned to build restaurants and offices. Was this constitutional?
I'll be old-fashioned and start with the text. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says that no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property "without due process of law." What does that mean? It could mean that States have to follow established procedures when they deprive people of life, liberty or property, which isn't much of a restriction and wouldn't protect the private home owners in New London. It could mean that States cannot deprive people of life, liberty or property in an unfair way (or a fundamentally unfair way), which could mean anything. As it happens, the Supreme Court has said that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment so, rather than puzzle over the myriad possible meanings of the Fourteenth Amendment, we can turn to the more specific Fifth Amendment.
The Fifth Amendment says "nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation." OK. So just compensation is required. But that's not the issue. The question is whether it was OK to take private property from one person to sell that private property to another person. What does the Fifth Amendment say about that? Well, it doesn't specifically. It says private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. Does that mean that the Fifth Amendment is not regulating what the government has to pay when it takes private property for private use? Linguistically possible, but dumb. Does it mean that the government has to pay just compensation when it takes private propery, even if the taking is for public use. Possible. But that sort of leaves the words "public use" as surplusage. Does it mean that the government cannot take private property except for public use and then only if it pays just compensation? Well, that seems fairer and probably what they had in mind, even if they didn't say it so precisely.
There was an opinion of a Supreme Court Justice in 1798 (each Justice would give his own opinion back then, a practice we seem to be returning to) which said that if a legislative act (I won't even call it a law, the opinion said) took property from A to give it to be that would be contrary to fundamental principles of government. So that idea is probably what is behind the words "public use" in the Fifth Amendment. Anyway, that is the view of everyone on today's Supreme Court.
OK it is fundamentally wrong for the government to take property from A simply to give it to B. Is that because the governmental action would have no legitimate public purpose? Or some other reason? Do the words "public use" mean something other than "public purpose." If so, what?
Justice Holmes said that, in understanding the law, a page of history is worth a volume of logic. So what's the history here. When the Fifth Amendment was ratified, some States had Mill Acts which allowed owners of grist mills (which were regulated and had to be open to all customers) to flood upstream land, I guess with mill dams, if they paid just compensation to upstream landowners. In the 19th Century, there were laws passed extending the same rights to private factories and allowing eminent domain for private roads.
The Supreme Court has had a number of cases in which takings were challenged as violative of the Public Use requirement. All of them passed muster and, it seems until this year, without much if anything in the way of dissent. Around the end of the 19th Century, there were cases approving takings for irrigation ditches. There is a Holmes opinion which let a mineowner who build an overhead tram over someone else's land to get his ore to market. In the 1950's the Supreme Court approved an urban renewal project in D.C. which replaced blighted private property (and some unblighted) with more upscale private development. There was a land reform case from Hawaii in the 1980's. Apparently, private ownership was concentrated in relatively few hands: on the island of Ohau some 22 people owned something like 72% of the land. To free up the market, the State transferred fee simple title to tenants, with just compensation to the landowners, and the Supreme Court said this was OK. Another case said that in reviewing pesticide applications the EPA could rely on data supplied by a prior applicant, if the second applicant paid just compensation to the prior applicant for use of its data. OK. So taking property from A to give it to B was wrong, in theory, under certain circumstances, but the Supreme Court had never actually found those circumstances. And public use could mean public purpose, which was required for all governmental actions, not just eminent domain.
OK so much for the background. What did the Supreme Court do? I'll tell you later.

Should Bush appoint a politician or a judge?

Recently Senators Reid, Spector, and Schumer have been suggesting that Bush look outside the judiciary for a Supreme Court nominee. This recalls Clinton's desire to appoint a "big-hearted" politician such as Babbit, Cuomo, or Mitchell to the Court. Clinton backed down because of the likely opposition such politicians would have faced compared to judges like Ginsburg or Breyer. The reason, though, that he initially wanted such nominees was that he believed they would be more likely to implement "big-hearted" policies (i.e. act as super-legislators rather than judges). I suspect that is one reason these Senators want Bush to look outside the judiciary for nominees.

The other obvious reason is that they are Senators and like the idea of once again making the Senate a major souce of Supreme Court nominees. I think this reason is somewhat misguided. A major reason Presidents liked to apponit Senators to the Court, as well as the cabinet, was Senatorial courtesy. Nominees that would otherwise be considered unacceptable would be confirmed. FDR's appointment of Hugo Black is an example. FDR did not believe he could get through as liberal a nominee as Black (today Black would be labeled a right-wing extremist) without the benefit of Senatorial courtesy. The Democrats in the Senate, however, do not seem inclined to allow all Senators through, even the most qualified such as Cornyn. Presidents therefore have a reduced desire to appoint from the Senate.

Supreme Court Reform

If the GOP really cared about reducing judicial activism they have a wonderful opportunity right now to introduce amendments that would serve this purpose. The Democrats may be more amenable because of Bush's potential to change the direction of the court. My own pet idea is to introduce 9 year terms so that there is one appointment a year. The justices would still have life tenure as appelate court judges. I believe that such a court would act less like a super legislature and defer more to Congress. Further, I suspect that such a Court would look more to the actual constitution when striking down legislation.

In Your Face, Mike

Drudge says Rhenquist is going today. Mike called into question the accuracy of my earlier post linking to a predicition that Rhenquist would resign this week.

Well ha, ha, ha.

BTW, the earlier post had only said O'Connor would be gone by Labor Day. She's gone before Labor Day, so I guess I'm batting 1.000.

This, young Michael, is how you write a gloat post.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Why you never want more than 2 army guys at a shabbos meal

Supreme Court gossip

Eric at Red State reports that business interests are opposed to Luttig because he is too much of a Scalia clone and would support regulatory agencies against business interests. I wonder, though, is there anybody on the court today that doesn't normally support regulatory agencies against business interests?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Tobie Contact

Tobie please email Mom a phone number at which you can be reached

Aunt Shirley

It is so sad to tell everyone that Aunt Shirley is gravely ill. About a month ago she went in for a procedure, and although the procedure was successful, she struggled to recover from the surgery. She spent two weeks in intensive care, and then a week in the main hospital. She had gone to Lieberman for rehab, but after a day they sent her back to the hospital. I saw her yesterday morning, and she was sitting up and cheerful, but in much pain. Yesterday afternoon she went into cardiac arrest. They believe that she was in the room like that for an hour. They did manage to get her heart going again, but she has not regained conciousness. She is in a coma now, being kept alive in every system by machines. Oh how my heart goes out for her! The nurse says that she is unable to feel pain, so that is a blessing.

I surely hope that her sweetness and kindness will be a merit for her to have a complete recovery, but I fear that soon decisions will be made about her that I wish no one would ever have to make, so now I am praying that she have a gentle, natural death. God has such a reward for her, because although she got so little love in her life, she did not become bitter and hard, but all the more loving and kind. And I pray that she soon will surrounded by all the love that she deserves so much.

Please pray for her recovery: Shayna Bayla bas Nechama Rivka

Reading the Newspaper

The other day when I took the train up to Haifa I decided to buy a paper to make it a well rounded adventure. Although not all papers in Israel are like this I was amazed at the lack of objective journalism.
On the second page they had a legitimate news item about how during disengagement in August most of the police will be in Gaza and there will be less control over regular crime and how they found an internal memo of the police department about which crimes they will delay investigating and which will close without investigation during disengagement. In the box on the side they had an "article" describing the meeting of the underworld in a ritzy hotel in Tel Aviv describing how they want to funnel as much money as possible to the anti-disengagement people so they can procede unchecked with their gambling, prostitution, drug trade etc. [Nowhere on the article did they mark it as fictional.]
And then on the last page there was an article about how the former sephardic chief rabbi R' Mordechai Eliahu decided that most of our tehina isn't kosher since the sesame seeds need to be roasted by a Jew. (R' Ovadiah Yosef doesn't agree so continue eating your tehina.) And then they had an edtirialish/article in a box on the side saying: tehina lovers don't worry, we all remember when R' Eliyahu had an interview on TV strongly suggesting that he doesn't support soldiers refusing orders to evacuate and then the next day his offices came out with a statement that that's not what he meant and he thinks soldiers should refuse to evacuate. No matter how upset they are by his waffling on his position about seruv pekudah that doesn't give them the right to bring it up in reference to kashrut of tehina!
And the final amusing part in the newspaper was a big fight going on between netanyahu and sharon. Some minister proposed legislation to postpone disengagement 3 months, something that sharon was obviously opposed to and didn't have a chance of passing. The vote would have passed unnoticed except Netanyahu made a big deal informing the press that his conscious won't allow him to vote against the measure so he won't come the day of the vote. (Bibi is working really hard to get the right-wingers of likud for the next election without quitting this government. also at the disengagement vote he made a big deal about being conflicted and in the end came 1/2 hr late at the last call for votes and voted for disengagement). Sharon announce that if netanyahu didn't come to support his position he would kick him out of the government based on some knesset law that a minister who doesn't vote supporting the government can be removed. netanyahu countered that that law is only if the minister is in the building and doesn't vote but if he's not in the builiding at all sharon can't remove him.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


Yesterday I had a free day that I didn't really need to study and a strong desire to see the world so I went up to Haifa for the day. (Seeing the world may be stretching it-Haifa's only a 50 min train ride from Tel Aviv.) B'kitzur (in short) Haifa is a beautiful city. The best way to describe its beauty is the flat expanse of the Mediterranean on one side and the mountains that rise immediately on the other. Its a beautiful city in that its built right into these mountains or along the coast, but at the same time it has the israeli simplicity of block like apartment building with trisim and mirpesaot with laundry hanging out overlooking a beautiful view of the sea. It also has an intellectual feel because of the two universities there-the University of Haifa and the Technion, or maybe because of the large Russian immigrant population.
Another thing that's really special about Haifa is that is has a large Arab population that does not live segregated but has regular neighborhoods mixed with Jewish ones. From my wanderings in Jerusalem I've picked up the habit- when you start hearing the pedestrians speak Arabic/look Arab retrace your steps back to familiar territory. It was strange then to be in Haifa and be able to walk through a nice middle-class neighborhood with a makolet (supermarket) advertising the weekly specials in Arabic and not feel like I needed to watch my back. (I apologize if this sounds prejudiced. I don't mean to be insulting Arabs, but to be safe sometimes you have to play by the stereotypes.) The beach in Haifa is also really beautiful. It feels more natural and less bleached than in Tel Aviv. At night people walk on the boardwalk- families, teenagers, couples. In town at night people sit out on their porches. In the Russian neighborhoods the parks are full of chess players.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Supreme Court Gossip

I heard on the radio that some activist group (I think conservative) has raised $35 million to spend on the upcoming Supreme Court campaign. I believe that is more than Jimmy Carter spent to win the White House in 1976. A sad commentary on how political and powerful the Supreme Court has become.
It wasn't always this way. Once Supreme Court nominations were humdrum affairs. Once upon a time, the Supreme Court was a much more modest institution. Divisive social issues were left for States and localities to sort out for themselves. Some problems with that, to be sure. The Warren Court brought about many necessary reforms. And there is no way now to put the genie back in the bottle. Too many people want to make a wish. When Robert Bork suggested turning back the clock, he was run out of town on a rail. So the Court is left having to make what used to be regarded as political decisions and becomes all the more political in the process.
I guess I feel conflicted about the whole thing. In some ways, I would like the Supreme Court to be more like a court and less like a superlegislature. But I want to see, and am dependent on, federal courts being at least somewhat activist and helpful to the underdog. So ....

Friday, July 01, 2005

My prediction

I predict Bush will nominate John Roberts

Why Enviromentalism is Evil.

Bush has proposed an additional 1.2 billion over 5 years to halve malaria deaths this is a good plan as it works because it saves 500,000 lives a year at a cost of $240,000,000 a year which is fantastic since the average enviromental protection plan costs $1,000,000 per life-year saved. However DDT could be used at a cost of $2.88 a year per house. With At a population of 800,000,000 and 5 to a house we could treat every house at a cost of around 480.6 million dollars with the additional funding we could start providing clean water and more food to Africa. Given current global spending is around $500,000,000 ata savings of 20 million we could cut out more than 9/10ths of malaria disease which would add 1.1% growth to the GDP per year However thanks to Silent Spring we have banned this cheap drug and are destroying close to a million a year. And why was it banned. DDT was less of a carinogen than apples or pears or cofee or lettuce and at levels higher than used in malaria prevention (or most agricultural) caused thinning bird shells DDT is safe for humans but has been destroyed by the enviromentalists.

Check out the cool photo feature.

A new feature is that you can include pictures in your post there's a button the toolbar with a mountain picture if we get digital nephews pictures we can post them.