Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Best Intermarriage Discussion Ever

Between Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jeffrey Goldberg. It makes me really sorry I didn't go to a socialist Zionist summer camp.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Vote on November 4!

So, last time, we remarked on "hit a Jew" day.

Now, Vermont gives us "don't vote for a Jew" day - but not because the state itself has an institutional animus to the Chosen People.

Evidently, some very disturbed local political candidate in Vermont decided to put a bizarre, super-literal-reading-of-Leviticus screed in her "candidate section" of the state's election information publication. Thanks to the First Amendment, which allows people to say the most horrific and stupid things without government interference, the Vermont state government has to print it, since she is a candidate.

Special, "I'm not an anti-Semite" excuse? DNA testing shows that she's part Jewish. Because that, if true, is so compelling an excuse.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hit a What Day?

Annie and I had this conversation in response to the fact that suburban St. Louis students are being punished for having a "hit a Jew" day:

ME: Next week: Jews hit back. Better hope they're the ACLU lawsuit kind, and not the King David Hotel kind.

ANNIE: No, they just organize a defense the next day in towns all over Persia. The king sealed it.

ME: That is why we must get a beautiful Jewess to seduce the King of Missouri.

ANNIE: Not it.

Any volunteers?

For the record, Melanie Blunt, first lady of Missouri, makes a relatively plausible Vashti (super-anti-Feminist interpretation found here).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hatin' on the Persians

So, if you hadn't heard, Mattel, which makes Barbie dolls, is suing MGA, which makes Bratz dolls, which appear to be the children of Barbie and angels which caused god to flood the earth. The reason for the suit is that one of the principals of MGA worked for Mattel, and Mattel alleges that he came up with the half-space alien strumpet dolls on Mattel's time.

A verdict recently came out in favor of Mattel, but it's in doubt now, because one of the jurors was making ethnic slurs about Isaac Larian, the Jewish CEO of MGA.

The twist: I think Juror #8 was an Ashkenazi Jew, because the ethnic slurs were not about Mr. Larian's Jewishness, but the fact that he's an Iranian. I, sadly, occasionally hear the sorts of things that Juror #8 said from New York Ashkenazim, who evidently think that being Jewish is not exclusive enough of a club, or maybe to pretend that rich European Jews don't also have their fair share of swindlers and jerks. I don't really hear it outside the Judaic bubble, as Jewish/Iranian is more of a dichotomy there, and Iranians are (also sadly) associated with something a little more sinister than dishonest business practices.

I was of the opinion that no small part of being a modern Jew was getting over all the ethnic insensitivity that we ourselves have suffered in no small measure, but hey, maybe it was only to become middle-class so we can be even more prejudiced than our non-Jewish neighbors when it comes to the Middle East.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Saw The Dark Knight yesterday. Had trouble sleeping afterwards.

At the risk of sounding like someone's preachy rabbi, my take-away from the film was that the Joker is a catastrophe familiar to the Jewish people - no matter what you do, he comes with force, with malevolence, and destroys the virtuous just as easily as the condemned.

The only solution, it seems, is to accept that your virtue does not guarantee success, but that failure does not exempt you from the dictates of your conscience.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Od Yishama...

Not sure if anyone reads this anymore, but this seemed as good a place as any to post the news: CJ and I are engaged.

I guess that this is my equivalent of shouting it from the rooftops.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Well, the World is Certainly Safer for Doughnuts NOW...

I do not go out of my way to read Michelle Malkin. Nor do I go out of my way to find news about hasty meal entrepreneur and talk show host Rachael Ray.

Yet somehow, here they are, bleeding through into my reading today:

What happened was that Ms. Ray, a spokeswoman for fried starch purveyor Dunkin' Donuts, wore a garment that looked a lot to me like a houndstooth scarf in a television spot. Ms. Malkin evidently sees all objects with a pattern similar to houndstooth as resembling a keffiyeh (example), which in her eyes is per se a statement of solidarity with the intifada. So, obviously, it has to go off the air.
To clarify, there are three issues here:
1) Not all checked scarves are keffiyehs.
2) Wearing a keffiyeh doesn't mean that you're in tight with the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade or Hamas.
3) Wearing a keffiyeh-looking object should not be enough to get you booted from American television.
The third should go without saying; we're a plural society here, and it really should be OK to wear a clothing item that millions of people, some of them Palestinian radicals, wear. Most agree that general clothing styles, by themselves, do not mean you subscribe to certain beliefs; e.g. this Ronald Reagan shirt does not mean you support violent Communist revolution. Sometimes a patterned scarf is a patterned scarf.
Furthermore, even if Ms. Ray has a copy of Walt & Mearsheimer's The Israel Lobby in her purse in that photo, as Americans we should be able to intelligently disagree about Middle Eastern policy without resort to blackballing doughnut commercials. Can we remember this again? Doughnuts. And coffee. Not policy.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Days Late, Dollar Short

I guess I'm too late for an "April Fool's" post, but I did just see this banner ad on a popular news website:Looks like the life insurance industry is courting my dollar these days.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A milder post on politics

CNN's exit polls are hilarious. I just don't get what people are thinking.

For example, in the exit poll of last night's Mississippi Democratic primary, 41% of the electorate indicated that they would not be satisfied if Senator Clinton won the nomination. However, of that 41%, 13% still voted for Senator Clinton.

And only 7% of the voters said they were "dissatisfied with both choices." So some people in Mississippi don't want Senator Clinton , but voted for her anyway. Don't ask me why.

Or, on the other side of the coin, of the voters who thought Senator Clinton was "the most qualified to be commander in chief" in the Missouri exit poll, 13% up and voted for Senator Obama. I guess, if you parse "commander in chief" restrictively enough (one might even say "Bill Clintonian"), you could make a case that Sen. Obama is likely better at all the non-commander-in-chiefy parts of the Presidency, and that would outweigh his deficiency. But that's really debatable.

In Arizona, Rep. Ron Paul's support, by division based on church attendance, was largest among people who never go to church (11% of those voters). In Texas, it was among people who go to church monthly (7% of those voters). Rep. Paul is skeptical about evolution and personally anti-abortion. So maybe Texas's votes make more sense. Or not. Hard to tell with a candidate who has an independent group putting his name on a blimp.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Let's Throw Some More Bombs - Higher Education Edition

That's right, it's time for another Controversial Opinion™ by your favorite Jewbiquitous contrarian.

Recently, I got into a fight on the internet about higher education. I rarely say clearly what I mean in a comment or forum post, and this was no exception. I strode into an argument about whether Connecticut should offer in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, and my argument was:

U. Conn. sucks.

Well, it wasn't that simplistic. But I did make the mistake of injecting one policy argument into another; I really didn't care about immigration, per se; just college prices.

Instead of rehashing the crap I said the first time, let me rephrase it:

The two most prestigious schools in the United States, Harvard and Yale, are, if not exactly free for the kind of illegal immigrant students who tug on our heartstrings (i.e., poor-ish children of laborers), so significantly tuition-reduced so that they are state-school affordable (Yale, as a bonus, happens to be in Connecticut). There is then a short list of other schools (depending on where you are, ten to thirty) for whom, like Harvard and Yale, the names also open up doors and it doesn't matter what they cost, the debt is worth it; check your local labor market for which these are, although Chicago, Stanford, and U.C. Berkeley are probably always there.

There are then a whole bunch of schools that are, while somewhat selective, somewhat known as "good," but basically offer nothing more than an expensive credentialling service. This would be where U. Conn. falls in.

I come from this from the law school angle (which IS a credentialling service), where the top 10% of every law school can hope to snag a plum job, but outside of that top 10%, if it's not Harvard, Yale, Chicago, or (insert most famous local school), anything lower means a hard slog for jobs. The roughly 190 law schools in the United States hire law professors almost exclusively from Harvard, Yale, and Chicago (with a little Penn and Stanford thrown in), all of whom have done prior judicial clerkships and published, so it's not really like there's a huge difference in the education or scholarship of law professors between NYU and NYLS.

The only real difference, as far as I can tell, is school selectiveness as a measure of overall talent; NYU can get, generally, the more intelligent and more ambitious students. But if you're not one of the "elite of the elite," the fact that I tested modestly better than a CUNY student on the LSAT (and got into a better school as a result) is not a reason to hire me if the other person did better in law school, and legal employers know this.

I can't imagine that other sophisticated employers don't know this; therefore, I would posit that, unless you know you can get into the top-scoring group of students at your university, you should reduce your "class" (and price!) of university until you can expect to be an honors student, unless you can get into a name which no one will care what your class rank is. As such, all colleges that are not in the small clique around Harvard are overpriced to the extent that they cost more than vocational schools or community colleges and deliver the same benefits to their students.

This, of course, does not apply to academics. But for the "bachelor's degree and then on to the cube farm unrelated to my degree" track that is so much of middle-class higher education, it's just not worth it.

* * *

Honestly, I think the mindset creating the University of Richmond vs. Fordham vs. Pomona vs. Adelphi vs. Hofstra vs. University of Memphis gradations make college applicant teens (and their parents) waaaay too crazy and give an unrealistic view of what most of the thousands of colleges in America offer. And it drives the prices up for everyone.

As for illegal immigrants, that's a story for another day. I basically picked on them to be better economic consumers because they don't have a choice and I can't force the rest of stupid America, which is jerk of me. So ignore that part. College prices are too high, and it's because we like to pretend that our moderately smart teens are worth paying $20,000 a year more than our nominally smart teens, despite the lack of gradations in opportunity for both.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Fad Is Ruined

Someday, I will write a post about the Jewish community and Obama. My Google Reader runneth over with starred stories from this, that, and the other as to whether the Illinois Senator is "good for the Jews," "good for Israel," or vice versa (or, my favorite, the New York Jewish Week story as to why those questions are irrelevant).

This is, however, not that post.

Instead, I report that a friend of mine, in a post about lesbians, has revealed to me that the Wall Street Journal has already reported on the LOLcat craze, making it totally uncool.

Therefore, I risk significant levels of uncoolness if I try to one-up the LOLJews website, which, at least according to my repeated hitting of "refresh," only has three pictures.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Regardless of your opinion of Caitlin Flanagan, her article in the current Atlantic Monthly about Katie Couric is a must-read.