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A true anti-idiotarian, blogging about politics, Israel, neuroscience, and anything else that crosses my mind.


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Saturday, January 31, 2004
 
Ooooh, what a low blow


I wish there was a way to place a quasi-sarcasm tag in the line above.
but this story just jumped out at me:

DEAN LABELS RIVAL KERRY 'REPUBLICAN'...


Criticizing Kerry, Dean told reporters in Tucson: "It turns out we've got more than one Republican in the Democratic race. I've already said I thought (retired Gen.) Wes Clark was a Republican and now apparently John Kerry has the same financing habits."


I think in the Dem primaries, being labled a "Republican" is just about as low as one can get. Is there anything worse? Perhaps a "Conservative Republican"is the only thing lower...
As for Clark--who really knows what he is anyway? I'm still unsure of his real party identification, but whatever.

Kerry seemed mad that Dean called him out for his having received more money from special interests than any other Senator in the last 15 years--as the WaPo reported today (apparently on the front page)

That is one thing that could hurt...

But in the meantime, I'm just going to sit back and watch the mudslinging continue...

Is it time to get drunk yet? (I've just been bored today--sorry)


 
This is a wierd Headline


This'll likely get the "Windows Sucks" crowd energized:

Microsoft in human rights row

I wonder what the response would've been if Apple or Linux were involved?

 
Primary Confusion


So as we all know, Kerry has won the contests in Iowa and NH, but apparently, Dean still ahs a lead in the number of delegates.

Is it just me or is any one else confused by this? Why can't there just be a simple system?
(yeah, I know wishful thinking)

Update: Call it ironic, but soon after I originally made this post, Patrick of Ole Miss Conservative has a post up on the topic.

 
He's 63?


Apparenly Dick Cheney had his birthday last night, and turned 63. Who knew it was his birthday (and does anyone really care?) and second--is it just me or doesn't anyone else think he looks older than 63?

Friday, January 30, 2004
 
For your entertainment


*Drink Alert*

The Washington Post apparently held an online Chat on Wed. with none other than the Daily Show's "Senior Political Correspondent" Stephen Colbert.

It's a very funny read.

Did I mention that I love the Daily Show?

 
It's Friday!


It's Friday! That means the week is over! Woooohoo!

That's the goodnews though.

The bad news, is that if you happen to be me--today is the one (and only) day when I have two academic classes in the same day--one of which is a 3 hour seminar.

That means I'm likely not going to have any time to blog any more today, but I do plan on blogging again starting tomorrow night.

 
Reich is wrong--again


So Brandeis Professor and former Sec of Labor under Clinton Robert Reich has penned another column in the NYT called "The Dead Center"--in which he basically rips "moderates".

Now of course I've got thoughts to share on this column--that's a given. But due to current time constraints, I can't share my thoughts yet.

In the interim, CD of Semi-Intellegent Thoughts will be fisking the article (and I'll pick up wherever he stops off).

Rush Limbaugh shared some thoughts and John Hawkins of RWN also took the time to share some of his opinions on the piece.

But don't dismay, my thoughts will be forthcoming.

Thursday, January 29, 2004
 
From the "No, Really?" Department


Sometimes headlines, or teaser headlines make you go: "No, Really?" because they're what one would anticipate. Here's two that are up at Drudge right now:

Lawmakers Find Evidence of Intelligence Failures on Iraq

Really? More than what David Kay reported? How soon until Tennet gets a pink slip? (last part is wishful thinking)

Update Turns out these findings were from a seven month 'study'. It basically says what a lot of us in the blogsphere have been saying for a long time--the CIA isn't doing its job. Our intel is basing itself way too much on ELINT and SIGNIT rather than utilizing HUMINT.

Second: Outrage in Congress as Medicare overhaul cost estimates rise dramatically...

I can't blame them at all. One of the the only reasons it somehow passed was that lawmakers were promised it wouldn't go above $400 billion---yeah, and I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. Wasn't Medicare only $6 million (or was it billion) annually? The moral of the story--gov't price tags are just about never right--I mean look at the Big Dig!

Update: So apparently the Dems don't think we're spending enough still, but the Conservatives are very, very mad. They at the very least better put a spending cap on this.
[sorry, I'm just in one of those odd moods right now--that's the only reason why I post things like this
and I'll link to the stories once I see the hyperlink on Drudge]

 
News of the Wierd


There are times when I see news stories, that are just well, absurd in one way or another.

4-year old N.Y. Preschooler Tests Positive For Cocaine

That is just wrong on so many levels.

Swedes have more and more animal sex

Again, that's extremly disgusting. To make matters worse, apparently it is totally legal over there. That's disgusting.

Enough wierdness for one day.

 
History Question of the Day


So there's a lot of talk about how much the Left hates President Bush...

But I've got to ask, how much did the Left hate Reagan (first term in office)? Was it more or less than the current levels of Bush hatred?

 
Sense from State?


From the title of this story: U.S. Declines to Take Neutral Stance on Israeli, Palestinian Attacks it could be a good sign.


"We don't draw equivalence between different actions," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said from a podium where past administrations have carefully and evenhandedly deplored violence on both sides with equal emphasis.

"I am not here to draw comparisons between different actions," Boucher said. He also stressed that Israel had a right to self-defense and that Palestinian violence was hurting peacemaking prospects.

Eight Palestinians were killed Wednesday by Israeli troops in Gaza. Four were from the Islamic Jihad group and a fifth from Hamas. The State Department identifies the two groups as terrorist organizations. Another three people killed were "bystanders" [quotation marks mine.]


Could there finally be some common sense in Foggy Bottom? I guess its premature to get my hopes up.

 
Writing...


So I told a friend that I may write an opinion piece for their newspaper....the deadline was originally next week, so I thought, okay, I can write something this weekend. Then this morning I get an email saying the deadline was today. I spent the past hour trying to type something up...but to be honest, I couldn't really think of anything to opine about. Nor did I like the fact that the deadline was moved up.

I'm thinking that I won't write one now. Unless someone has a good idea for one (leave it in the comments section).

Okay, off to procrastinate or something like that.

 
Election Thoughts


Anyone else see the interview with Al Sharpton that was in Rolling Stone? I mean I knew the guy was a bit crazy, but reading that interview--yikes! The man is a full fledged nutcase! (He's also very egotistical at that). My goodness!

Ann Coulter's column today was a little more down to Earth than usual (really, it's possible), and she just goes after Kerry in it. Bonus points to her for a kucinich joke at the start of it.

Finally, I'm suprised that Dean fired his campaign manager, Joe Trippi. Wasn't Trippi supposively the one behind the whole internet strategy? Some are taking this as a sign that Dean is in trouble, but at the same time, Kerry shook up his campaign a few months ago, and he's done better since. Who knows?

And off topic, I'm already sick of Super Bowl pregame shows.

 
Brief Morning Thoughts


Why are there all these leaks about a planned US Armed Forces offensive in Pakistan in the spring? What ever happened to the element of Suprise?

How is Israel gonna retaliate for the latest mass-murder at the hands of the palestinians? I want to see something swift, decisive and powerful.

I also think that the club on campus who planned a "Geneva Initiative Bash" this evening should be whacked over the head with a ClueBat™ or two.

The Smarter Cop has a fun multiple choice quiz up. It's fun--therefore it's acceptable to take in the morning.

I've only got one class today, so I'll likely be spending the afternoon screwing around, being nonproductive as any good college student should be. So perhaps I'll even do some extra blogging should the muse hit me.

 
Slow Day


It's been a slow day today...I actually am ahead of my reading (which is eerie the more I think about it).

Let's see....the BBC took one on the chin. Not like I really ever watched the BBC or relied on it for my news. I'm currently perfering the Israeli media for my news.

Is it just me or is anyone else of hearing about: The scott peterson/michael jackson and martha trials? Same goes for the campaigns. Every morning when I turn on the news, it's a constant cycle of those things, and then there's the interviews with the campaign chairs (*yawn*)

Last night there were all these rumors that we were going to get a big snow storm dumped on us here in Boston. Well, the weather people were wrong, we got maybe 3-4 inches. Back home in Cleveland, my little brother had a snow day (which very rarely happens), and apparently, down in MD things shut down as well, as Jay can attest to.

One of my friends was on the Daily Show tuesday night. If you saw the show, and remember when Rob Corrdrey was at Lieberman's NH HQ--she was the one in the yellow sweater, who Rob was hugging (constantly). Yeah--that was her. Apparently they also interviewed her, but they cut that part out.

I was watching Dennis Miller's show again tonight (I was really bored people!) I've got to say, for what he occasionally (make that often) lacks in humor, he's scored some good guests this early. The Governator, Sen. McCain, Rudy Gulianni...and his "varsity pannel" is quite interesting. Suprisingly Horowitz has yet to explode while on the panel.

Speaking of exploding--apparently I missed Ann Coulter on Hannity and Colmes--she's always an interesting guest to watch...if I can't fall asleep, I'll perhaps watch the rerun.

Back to Miller's show, Horowitz jumped out to defend the PATRIOT Act--and the other two people on the panel want it gone (Willie Brown and someone named Naomi Wolf). Wolf is doing the whole shtick about the squashing of dissent, domestic espionage (against enemies of the administration)...is J. Edgar Hoover back? Then she drags Israel into the whole mix, and says that Israel doesn't politicize Nat'l security, and the like.

She's wrong by the way. In Israel, they don't have freedom of speech, there is a gov't censor. And Nat'l security is probably the issue which has swayed the past few elections over in Israel. I mean why do you think that the Likud did so well in the last election [2003]? Simply because they're (at least supposed to be) stronger against terror than the Israeli left (Labor, etc.) Some people never learn.

Okay, that's enough random thoughts for now....

Wednesday, January 28, 2004
 
Not a good idea


If you're trying to shore up your conservative base. Drudge is reporting:
BUSH TO SEEK BIG BUDGET INCREASE FOR NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS... Laura Bush plans to announce the request -- for the largest increase in two decades -- on Thursday... Developing...


I still don't understand the need for the Nat'l Endowment for the Arts, but....

 
Time for some good news


Despite my angry tone in my last post, I'm actually in a pretty good mood right now. Why?
I just did my weekly "weigh in" for the diet I'm on, and since starting it (maybe a month ago)? I've already managed to lose 10 lbs! Yay! Um, that is all.

 
I'm sick of "diversity" awareness!!!


I'm sick of this whole so called "diversity" movement. And that's speaking as a minority. The University just sent out another email, and here are choice excerpts:


On January 12, 2004 over 20 faculty from various departments and Schools participated in a pilot program on "managing difficult conversations." Although this meeting with skilled, external facilitators was well received, the overall assessment was that the faculty itself can construct strategies for achieving greater sensitivity and effectiveness. We have learned that there are many faculty throughout the university who have impressive insight and skills and who are eager to engage others in discussions of differences that can challenge and enrich all of us.

(1) In order to explore our experiences as individuals and as a community, we are planning
to use theatre, story-telling or other innovative means of increasing shared understanding.
Professor [name removed] is chair of this sub-committee.

(2) Recognizing the importance of cultivating faculty skills in managing classroom dynamics
and responding to challenging interactions, we will hold a series of dialogs and skill- building sessions for faculty. These meetings will be coordinated by Senior Advisor to the Provost

(3) We are conducting a comprehensive review of the undergraduate curriculum to identify
areas of strength and areas in need of bolstering with respect to courses that explore the
issues and challenges of a diverse society. This review will be coordinated by Dean of Arts
and Sciences.

I also want to call your attention to a variety of other related activities. Rather than deferring action until the completion of the entire curriculum review referred to above, the Dean of Arts and Sciences, is in the process of gathering suggestions from departments and programs regarding courses related to diversity that might be added to the 2004-05 schedule. The titles of probable new courses will be announced later in the term.

The university is also developing a longer term plan for adding tenure-track faculty who will teach topics that address underrepresented groups, study issues related to diversity and pluralism within their fields, and increase the dissemination of knowledge about the diverse world and country in which we live. As a first step of this kind, we are finalizing the description for a search that will be conducted next year for a tenure-track scholar of Islam, to be located in one or more of the Anthropology, History, Philosophy, or NEJS departments.

Further, Coordinator of Diversity Services, is chairing a committee that is planning a series of informal gatherings to discuss the many forms of diversity on campus and to gather community input on the steps that we can take to address issues more effectively. The committee has also begun talking about a university-wide diversity activity for later this semester.

Faculty at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management have also been actively engaged in addressing issues of diversity in the School’s curriculum and teaching. Working groups are now established to examine topics related to race, gender, social class and immigrant status. Further, a series of faculty workshops is scheduled for the spring semester for Heller School faculty and doctoral students to explore how to address cultural, social, and racial diversity in the School’s educational programs.


I'm soooooo happy I'm graduating. Dealing with any more of this "diversity" shtick would really make me sick. What's wrong with learning vis-a-vis everyday interactions with others?

This whole notion of "social justice" has been taken too far (IMHO). I suggest the school revisit Thomas Sowell's book "The Quest for Cosmic Justice" to see what I mean.

 
Quote of the Morning


Sorry, I just found this one too funny that I needed to share it:
Scott Belliveau e-mails (NRO): "As the scrutiny of John Kerry's voting record begins, a friend of mine predicts that the Senator will be characterized as "Ted Kennedy on the Atkins Diet."


 
The "latest" in Jewish fashion


[via Allah] It looks like the latest item in Jewish fashion--"the Yarmulkebra"

What is a yarmulke? A yarmulke is the skullcap worn by practicing Jewish men to show their reverence to God. Also known as a kipa.

What is a bra?
A bra is the breast-holding undergarment worn by women to stave off excess jigglage and saggage.

What is a Yarmulkebra?
A yarmulkebra is a bra made of two yarmulkes. No longer are yarmulkes limited to men or heads. You wanted to wear one? Now you can wear two.


I'm not even going to ask about this idea. But how soon till they roll out a bucharish model?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004
 
Question for the readership


One of my friends and I are having a friendly disagreement:

She's saying that President Bush stealthly or very secretly passed the partial birth abortion ban and that the media didn't really spend too much time reporting on it.

I'm disagreeing with her, by saying that it wasn't done secretly, and that the media did indeed cover it.

If you could please express what you remember in the comments section, that would be a help.

Note: one's position on the issue of abortion is irrelevant to this debate, it's more about reporting.

And for anyone who cares, here' s the bill in question And the Senate passed it 64-34; the House 281-142.

 
Tonight's Thoughts


No, I'm not watching the NH primary results come in or anything like that. I know Kerry won, and Dean is gonna come in second. I've occasionally visited Drudge to see how the race for third is coming along.

I haven't watched any network coverage either. However, from the blogsphere, I've heard that Clark isn't doing any interviews, Deaniacs thinks that their hero came in first, Joe is missing his "JoeMentum"...

Speaking of which, I don't think it's right for Kerry to be speaking about the "economy of privledge"...as someone noted at NRO:

Isn't the "economy of privilege" something you get when you marry TWO (not just one) very wealthy heiresses?...He was born into it then when it started running out he married it -- TWICE!"


and if I'm not mistaken, Kerry (via his wife) is the richest man in the Senate. Go figure. Politicians..can't live with 'em...wish we could live without 'em.

The dump on Kerry campaign will be starting up soon enough. I'll let the professional muckrackers do their job and I think I'll stay far away from it. Wait, one exception, I reserve the right to lampoon Kerry for any claims that he makes about being Jewish.

Dean comes up with another foot-in-mouth quote:

The biggest loss we have suffered since George Bush has been president is our loss of community


Er, I'd beg to differ. What about 9/11?

Then there's good old Joe...poor guy, he used to be so much more popular.
This line isn't a good sign

"We are in a three-way split decision for third place...the people of New Hampshire put me in the ring and that is where we are going to stay."


But at the same time, I think this line from the Corner is priceless

If only Lieberman had started having Keg O' Joe events like a suggested, he might still be a viable candidate.


Oooh.....there's a James Bond movie on...I'm gonna go watch that now

Another Thing: People--remember, the race isn't over! Rush Limbaugh has a good analogy for it "we're not even at the first turn yet"

 
An intra-Islamic schism


No, unfortunately it doesn't appear like there's going to be a showdown between the "moderates" the the extremists. Rather it looks like it's a race war

 
Possible Pay Per View event?


I've been suggesting for a while that Bill O'reilly take on Al Franken...especially in light of Franken's latest tussle.

Perhaps a cage match would be in order?

(and I still think that Rich Lowry would destroy Franken in a rumble)

 
Move over H&C and Crossfire


So I'm doing a very boring and confusing reading for my NEJS class. I put the Israeli network on the background, and there's some "political rountable" type of show. They're all debating and yelling (often simultaneously, like Israelis do best). It's much more entertaining than Crossfire or Hannity and Colmes. There is a moderator on the show who throws out topics and brief questions, but the rest is what Israelis call a balagan

The little things I find entertaining

 
More about the "Hate Icon" on Campus


The Justice reports on the story


In a campus-wide e-mail released Monday, Assistant Dean of Student Life Rev. Nathaniel Mays condemned an act of vandalism that defaced the outside of the North Quad AB Lounge with a swastika

Measuring approximately nine inches, the symbol was reported on Nov. 13 [[ed.--do they mean Jan 13th?] by a North resident to Residence Life, who then immediately contacted Public Safety and Facilities to remove it.

Two days later the inscriptions, "Jew U" and "Kill me now," were found written alongside each other in the snow on Chapel's Field around 8 p.m. Currently, no one has been apprehended for the swastika or the offensive messages found in the snow.


The Jewish Chaplain has a great quote in the article:

"It doesn't take a lot of intelligence or maturity to do either of these things because there's lots of room for good communication to take place, and these aren't examples of it,"


And one idea for a program about this:

One possibility includes a program that takes a "historical look at the swastika, and how it has been used to cause pain and hurt, or other symbols that could cause pain for our community," Mays said.


Can I make a suggestion? What about having a program on the new rise of anti-semitism in the world? I think Brandeis would be a great location to have such a program, as we have professors who (I'd assume) are very, very familiar with this subject area. (We have a top notch Judaic Studies program).

These incidents appear to be more focused on anti-semitism (from what I've read), rather than blanket racism.

Either way, if the individual(s) behind this are caught...oh boy...I don't think they know what they're in for.

I am suprised though that we have not received any sort of all campus email from the University President. I'd think that it would nearly be protocol in these cases, no?


 
A New Justice is out!


It's Tuesday! Therefore we've got a new issue of the Justice!

I don't have time to post everything right now; but I promise to do so this afternoon after my class. (I love only having 1 class on Tuesdays).

But here's one story:

Brandeis grad student wanted for questioning by FBI

Now a few quick pointers:

1) The student in question completed her studies here and received her doctorate--therefore she's no longer a student here.

2) This is old news! I blogged about this story when it first broke last spring (advantage Blogsphere!) [I'll find the old hyperlink later--I'm unable to find it right now].

Update: A commenter has informed me that this story was to serve as an "update" to a previous one that was run last semester. Thanks for the clarification--my mistake.

Okay--I'm back from class. Civil Liberties class was actually quite interesting today. But that's irrelevant to this post.

Other big stories at Brandeis:

Banners stolen from Shapiro Campus Center -- I'm assuming it was someone's idea of a "funny" prank. In my opinion, it was stupid and immature. Whoever did it should just return the banner.

Secret & Scrumptious -- A story about Brandeis' own on campus bakery (which makes Kosher and non-Kosher baked goods). Apparently its very expensive, and they don't try to cut costs at all (*cough* tuition increase? *cough*)

There's more wireless access on campus now. That's a good thing (although I have a desktop...)

Record high for marijuana cases--does this mean the University is actually discovering the significant number of people who use the drug on campus? I'm clean, I promise!


 
History Channel Rules!


Okay, so I've been passing time recently by watching the History Channel--and there's been lots of good stuff on!

This afternoon there were documentaries on organized crime waves--the Chinese Snakeheads, Sicilian Mafia, all sorts of good stuff. Then last night there was something on "Targeted" about the palestinian murderous bomb maker yehia ayash (a.k.a. "the engineer")--who the Shin Bet was ultimately able to liquidate using a cell phone bomb.

There was also something on Pablo Escobar, and now there's something on "Operation Just Cause" (Deposing Noriega--who is now sitting in a Miami prison with POW status)

 
Dennis Miller's new show


I had it on in the background just now--I think the show has already jumed the shark. Miller lacked good humor and substance. Granted, his panel was interesting, Horowitz, Naomi Wolf (?), and David Frum--they didn't let Frum talk enough and Horowitz and Wolf wound up fighting.

Unless he improves promptly, I don't see the show taking off.

Monday, January 26, 2004
 
Good Grief...Not Again


Just got the following email from the Campus Coordinator of Diversity Services
(Note: the coordinator has other titles besides that one, FYI; message has been edited for length)


To this end, I want to make you aware of the unfortunate fact that one of our residence halls in North Quad was defaced with a swastika earlier this semester. Although we do not know when the symbol first appeared on the building, or who is responsible for it being there, it has no place on our campus or in our society.

As we are well aware, in relatively recent history, the swastika has been associated with the horrific atrocities of Nazi Germany as a symbol of hate and the murder of a group of people due to their identity. Since that time, it has been adopted by additional perpetrators of inhumane acts and sentiments and used to intimidate and breed hate. In this way, the symbol concerns not only the Jewish members of our community but non- Jewish members as well.

When individuals and groups choose to disrupt constructive efforts to build a diverse and inclusive community, by sprinkling symbols and language of hate throughout a community (anonymously), it makes it
difficult to know where to focus our attention to rid our community of such behaviors. The one thing we cannot afford to do is allow these behaviors to create an irreconcilable divide within our community. We must not allow mean-spirited individuals to create distrust and feelings of apathy within our community. In the midst of feeling helpless, we must continue the task of building a campus community that welcomes all people.

Along with scheduling a major community diversity event for this semester, and planning informal opportunities for members of the Brandeis community to come together for engaged discussion on the challenges to our diversity efforts, I am working with a dedicated group of students, faculty, and
staff members who offer themselves as a resource for members of our community who wish to have conversations about diversity issues on campus, as well as to be a sounding board for potential actions that individuals/groups are considering in response to an offensive act that they have experienced at the hands of a member of our campus community.


This kind of act is really unacceptable, and the person(s) who did it, should they be caught, deserve the full penalties that can be afforded to them. There's no question about that.

What I'm not so easy with is a "major community diversity event". I've said before, that not only do I not understand what diversity means, but also the way it's pushed (make that preached) here. Also the sounding board to "offensive acts" type thing...it sounds like more of a squashing of things. That's what almost happened with Daniel Pipes last semester; and well, has been known to happen if you harbor an opinion that the far-leftists don't agree with (because they're the ones who whine).

That being said, there's a difference between deliberate malice and a different opinion, but I fear that the line between the two has already been blured--much for the worse. Oh well...only one more semester.

Update: A commentator going as "unnamed" points out:

There was also a swastika in the snow recently.

One thing that gets me is that when the whole Justice thing happened, [Univ. President] Jehuda was the first one to send out an e-mail to the entire campus, but when a swastika is seen, Dean Mays sends out the e-mail first.



 
Got Another One!


This time, the lucky winner is Hassan Ghul, captured in (drumroll please)....Iraq!

I'll now turn it over to the President:

Just yesterday -- not yesterday -- just last week, we made further progress in making America more secure when a fellow named Hassan Ghul was captured in Iraq. Hassan Ghul was a -- reported directly to Khalid Shaik Muhammad, who was the mastermind of the September the 11th attacks. He was a killer. He was moving money and messages around South Asia and the Middle East to other al Qaeda leaders. He was a part of this network of haters that we're dismantling.

Our intelligence officers did a good job. He was captured in Iraq where he was helping al Qaeda to put pressure on our troops. There is one less enemy we have to worry about with the capture of Hassan Ghul. Our people are doing great work. --Source


The WaPo also says that along with Ghul, we got some other terrorists! Hoooah!

Take that bad guys! Woooohooo!

 
Cheers for Common Sense!


Federal Judge Dismisses Slave Reparations Case

At least this case was dismissed pre-trial, unlike another case, which a judge let go to trial. Fortunately, a jury knew better than to believe that a flight attendant’s use of the rhyme "eenie, meenie, minie, moe" was racist and caused physical and emotional distress.

The members of that jury obviously had their heads on straight. The plantiffs though, deserve a good whack with a ClueBat

 
Is it done yet?


Maybe it's just me, but is anyone else sick of hearing 24/7 about tomorrow's NH Primary? I've already mentioned how I'm sick of the political ads on TV (most of 'em are rather lame anyway), but I wish that the TV and papers would just cut down on the myriad of polling data that they're constatly throwing out.

Why can't they just let the people of NH go to the polls and vote? As they say, it's often unpredictable--so why bother with these constant polls?

That is my morning rant for today; now I shall go to class and...um...be...er....studious--yes, studious.

 
Wierd Away Message of the day


No, I have no explanation for this one, that's why I'm sharing it:


Snopes.com confirms the authenticity of photographs circulating on the Internet that show Dick Cheney wearing an E.L.F. cap while sipping snifters of brandy with oil execs. Attorney General John Ashcroft uses the PATRIOT Act to prosecute the vice president as a domestic terrorist and "make America safe for Americans."

But a spokesperson for ChevronTexacoMobilExxon chuckles at the accusation that the energy industry is trying to make itself look bad. "Don't be ridiculous -- that's like saying PETA is a front for the mink fur industry."

The assembled reporters gasp, then rush for the exits.


 
Mondays


I don't like mondays...no specific reason why...I simply just don't like 'em.
Today is also the first monday of classes this semester--and with that, our first full week of classes here.
Exciting, I know...it's also freezing cold outdoors again (can someone please explain this whole global warming thingy to me again?)

Sunday, January 25, 2004
 
A night out


I was out this evening...and I actually went into Boston (*gasp*). I went to meet a friend for dinner out at Ta'am China, a Kosher chinese restaurant here in Boston, which if I may say, has excellent food.

My friend and I sat there for quite some time just talking, catching up on things and the like. Overall, it was a good evening.

Tomorrow is the first monday of the semester--go figure. I only have one class and my PE, so it'll be a "light" day for me. Well, it's much better than having a very busy day, no?

 
What Am I reading


For your entertainment (or amusement) this afternoon I'll be reading the following works:

Bloomberg J, Jones GM, Segal B (1991) Adaptive Plasticity in the gaze stabilizing synergy of slow and saccadic eye movements. Exp. Brain Res 84:35-46

and

Benson, AJ: Chapter 16: The vestibular sensory system, in The Senses (1982)

Doesn't get much more fun than this, no?

Update: Finished the book chapter at 17:22; did I understand all of it---uh....

 
Is Dean drinking the Kool-Aid again


Howard Dean Says Iraqis Worse Off Now

And they're worse of since their genocidal dictator's police state has been toppled because...? More of 'em own cars, they have freedom of speech, they have liberties and rights...and they're worse off? The only ones worse off are the ex-ba'athists (who btw deserve it).

Dean: I Would Have Toppled Saddam Using Different Tactics

I'm sure of that too. The sanctions were crumbling (didn't you read Pollack's "The Threatening Storm"?) How would you have done it? Via the UN?

Update: Clark is also drinking it: Clark: Michael Moore a 'Man of Conscience'

And Kucinich, a long time Kool-aid drinker is at it again: Dennis Kucinich's Magic Bus


 
Maybe When Pigs Fly


Khatami: Disarm Middle East of nuclear weapons


Iran has no plans to manufacture nuclear weapons, its President told Newsweek, But the oil-rich Islamic state may acquire nuclear capability for peaceful use.


Saudi initiative: Arab states to absorb refugees

According to the new plan, 3 million refugees will be absorbed by Arab states that have already expressed their willingness to absorb a number of refugees equivalent to 10 percent of their total population.


 
Saturday Night


Went to a local bar with some friends this evening. It was an okay time...bar was pretty close to being skeazy. Unfortnately we also got hit with a cover charge (b/c some bad cover band was playing in back). My problem is, now that all my clothes and coat smell like smoke. D'oh! I hope Febreeze works...

If anyone else has any suggestions, they'd be very appreciated! (I don't like my clothes smelling like smoke)

Saturday, January 24, 2004
 
College Hockey Craziness


There's 00.3 seconds left in a BU-Maine game (BU is up 1-0) and a whistle blew and a fight just broke out. Everyone was involved (sans BU's goalie). There was also a BU player not involved who was thrown down by 2 maine players, and he got involved, and it was crazy.

It was a huge fight--after a very physical game--but it was an uncalled for fight, especially with that little time left. The two teams played the night before Maine routed BU 8-4

Maine had 5 men sent to the Penalty Box (they yanked the goalie) and 3 for BU.

All the players involved Game misconducts, 10 min misconducts, 2 min roughing,

The refs are still sorting everything out....

And now the fans are chanting "yankees suck"--go figure

 
Why Pancakes?


Just a thought:

After seeing footage of many of the democrat presidential wanna-bes campaigning, I've gotta ask--what's with all of them being at pancake breakfasts? Are these breakfasts that occur normally or are they special campaign ones?

But why pancakes?

 
I'm Back


Sorry about my lack of postings yesterday. I have class from 10:40-12 and then 1:30-4:30 and Shabbat started ~4:40ish. During my 90 minute interlude I usually go eat lunch and take care of some personal errands, and therefore I don't get to blog. Make sense?

But don't worry, I'm still around and I will continue blogging and responding to people's comments.

Anyway, as for my classes, I'm enjoying them. The class that I have on Fridays from 1:40-4:30pm (Motor Control, Orientation, Adaptation) is also very good. Last week only two of us showed up--yesterday, I was the only one!

But that's not necessarily a bad thing--you see, because it looks like for now that the course will be somewhat of an "independent study/guided reading" course. I really like small classes, and this appears that it'll be even better--as I'll not only learn more, I'll be able to ask questions and the like. On top of all that, it looks like I'll also be getting my own neuroscience/psychology research project to do (yay!). Did I mention that we also play with toys in class? Yesterday we've used prism goggles, and a vibrator (no, not that kind you pervert) to demonstrate phenomena.

Well I'm off to go observe the "high stakes poker" game taking place in my suite....

Friday, January 23, 2004
 
Is it true or a trial baloon?


Bush to propose spending freeze


President Bush will propose an increase of less than 1 percent for federal programs not related to defense or homeland security, effectively freezing discretionary spending in the next budget, after coming under fire from conservatives to control runaway spending.

But the president will propose increasing governmentwide homeland security funding by 9.7 percent in the fiscal 2005 budget, and the military budget is expected to increase by a small amount.


Hopefully its the former rather than the latter, but we'll have to wait and see...

And from the other side of the aisle

Democrats blamed Mr. Bush's tax cuts for undercutting spending on domestic programs.
"His proposals lack fiscal discipline. There are consequences for his reckless tax cuts," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat.
Said Rep. John M. Spratt Jr. of South Carolina, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee: "That won't have much of an impact on the deficit. Nondefense discretionary spending is almost frozen already."


Rep. Spratt must be looking at a different budget than....oh the rest of us, cause there's no way spending is "almost frozen already". Will it have an impact on the defecit? Yes--in that the defecit won't grow as large as it would with more spending (aaaah!)

And Pelosi--tax cuts aren't reckless--in fact, they caused an *gasp* increase in Revenue! Nor are tax cuts wreckless (despite your shrill claims).

What would you like instead? More taxes? (Of course you would, so we can spend more and continue in that pattern)? Could someone explain to me how this woman was awarded a honorary degree by Brandeis last year? With logic like you've exhibited in this quote and in your "Response to the SOTU"...



Thursday, January 22, 2004
 
Did Anyone Watch?


Anyone out there watch tonight's Dem debate up in NH? Anything of interest happen? Funny lines? Any good Sharpton ramblings?

Right now all I have to go on for what transpired is from The Corner (or I could ask my friend who interned/s for Lieberman, but I'd like other opinions).

If you have anything to say about it, leave some comments in the comment section.

Oh, and bits of "news" like this headline: Democrats Criticize Bush in NH Debate, well, really aren't news! (Suprise!)

Update: The RNC has this fact checking sheet out...

 
Funny Stuff from the Far-Far-Left


For your entertainment:

A lefty (a self dubbed "progressive") about Michael Moore endorsing Clark for President:

It's rather ironic that Michael Moore has publicly supported Wesley Clark in the Democratic Primary. Clark is the four star general who ran the US bombing campaign in Serbia - the very same "war" (more like a slaughter) that Michael Moore criticized in his film Bowling for Columbine. Granted the choices in the Democratic Party aren't that good even for liberals like Michael Moore, but this is particularly sad.


and here's an op-ed by Daniel Flynn: Dean's Supporters His Biggest Liability

Three of the funniest excerpts:

Dean's angry army invaded Iowa by way of Harvard Square, Telegraph Avenue and Greenwich Village. Unsurprisingly, Middle America chose not to enlist. The same crowd that protested the war last winter in New York, Washington and San Francisco coalesced behind a candidate. Just as they undermined the anti-war cause, they undermined the anti-war candidate.
....
His campaign may never recover. This lesson is one that his supporters – who in earlier incarnations rioted in Seattle, lionized convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and compared Saddam Hussein favorably to George Bush during the anti-war protests – will never learn.
....
Translation: Hippies knocking on doors scare voters, so unless you want to drive people away, go get a haircut and take a bath before you get involved with the campaign in a public way.


Enjoy!


 
Is Syria Next?


Interesting story from the Jersualem Post today: Report: Rumsfeld considers striking Hizbullah to provoke Syria


US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is considering provoking a military confrontation with Syria by attacking Hizbullah bases near the Syrian border in Lebanon, according to the authoritative London-based Jane's Intelligence Digest.

In an article to be published on Friday, the journal said multi-faceted US attacks, which would be conducted within the framework of the global war on terrorism, are likely to focus on Hizbullah bases in the Bekaa Valley of eastern Lebanon.

It noted that the deployment of US special forces in the Bekaa Valley, where most of Syria's occupation forces in Lebanon are based, would be highly inflammatory and would "almost certainly involve a confrontation with Syrian troops."

Such a conflict might well prove to be the objective of the US, said the journal, which described Washington's strategic benefits from a confrontation with Syria


There are potential downsides to such an attack--including letting Lebanon become destabilized (yet again--then again, is it even stabilized now?) Hizbullah is a terror group, and the US has some unsettled scores with them (ex. Beruit Embassy and Barracks bombings in '82)--and it would also be a strike at Iran, who also uses Hizbullah as proxies. We'll just have to wait and see.

This is something to keep an eye on.

 
Questioning Patriotism?


[via Econopundit]

So it looks like people are questioning the patriotism of others--but this time the GOP has nothing to do with it. This time its Wesley Clark going after Kerry...but not pulling rank this time:

Retired General Wesley Clark yesterday noted he "stayed with the U.S. Army" through the Vietnam War, setting up a contrast with White House foe John Kerry, who left the military and became a war critic.


Now will this score Clark any points? From the looks of things, a lot of the current Dem activist base is made up of the anti-war generation of the 60s...no? So will this perhaps backfire?

 
Another SOTU Thought--DOMA and the FMA


Disclaimer: This isn't necesarilly my opinion on the following issue (cause I honestly don't have an opinion yet) but I'm just trying to decipher the meaning.


A strong America must also value the institution of marriage. I believe we should respect individuals as we take a principled stand for one of the most fundamental, enduring institutions of our civilization.

Congress has already taken a stand on this issue by passing the Defense of Marriage Act, signed in 1996 by President Clinton. That statute protects marriage under Federal law as the union of a man and a woman, and declares that one state may not redefine marriage for other states.


So does the Defense of Marriage Act stand or does it not? I've never read the text of DoMA, nor do I really plan on spending the time to do so (I'm lazy). But the question which I have--what about the "Full faith and credit clause" of the constitution?


Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives. On an issue of such great consequence, the people's voice must be heard. If judges insist on forcing their arbitrary will upon the people, the only alternative left to the people would be the constitutional process.


The president scored points with the right over the activist judges part. I think that it was with the "activist judges" idea that the President was running. In some states, the State Supreme Court justices aren't elected, and therefore can't be held accountable to the people [read: voters]. Mass is apparently one of those states (incase anyone cares).

Perhaps, and I'm just throwing this idea out, the President is saying that this decision is something that should be decided in the state legislature rather than by the SJC; because the legislature members are accountable to the voters and serve as their "voice" in gov't. Plus, it's not the judges place to redefine laws from the bench.

Now I don't remember the exact process for a Consitutional ammendment in MA--but I think it takes ~2 years; and the SJC gave the legislature 180 days. So that sort of prevents the possibility of an ammendment in MA.

But the big question I have, which I mentioned earlier, what about the "full faith and credit" thing? If MA leagalizes same-sex marriage, will another state, say Ohio (since I mentioned it below) be forced to recognize it? Is this a state issue or a federal one? Under whose jurisdiction does it fall? That's what I want to know.

Also, it's important to note that the President didn't call for such an ammendment outright. He said he'd support one, but he never mentioned that he'd put one forward. That's interesting because last I heard, I think it was the MA senate was asking the SJC if it could just OK civil unions rather than "marriage". That could also change things.

Just some thoughts...

Update: Professor Brainbridge shares thoughts similiar to mine in this post of his: DOMA, the FMA, and the SOTU. He too examines the law side of the question, rather than the issue itself--but with more knowledge than I have.

 
Big News from Ohio


Time to take the focus back to my home state:

Ohio Lawmakers Approve Gay Marriage Ban

Lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday to a measure banning gay marriage (search) and prohibiting state employees from getting benefits for domestic partners.

The bill is considered among the most far-reaching in the nation because of the benefits ban, which applies to unmarried heterosexual and homosexual couples.


The article that proceeded the above (and has more details):

Ohio Working on Gay Marriage Ban

And if you really want more stories, there's always Google News

I report--you decide

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
 
More SOTU Thoughts


I really liked the first part of the SOTU--dealing with the foriegn policy. He was very strong, forceful, straight forward, and look at how Sen. Ted "Swimmer" Kennedy reacted! Other people have made more specific comments on it, so I'm gonna be lazy and not really repeat everything they said.

I really also liked the following line:

America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people.


Take that UN!

I did think that the President tried to use to much Ronald Reagan style language in his speech. The ideas are good, but Bush isn't the best orator.

I do think that parts of the Patriot Act do indeed need renewed. As he said:

Inside the United States, where the war began, we must continue to give homeland security and law enforcement personnel every tool they need to defend us.
And one of those essential tools is the Patriot Act, which allows federal law enforcement to better share information, to track terrorists, to disrupt their cells and to seize their assets. For years, we have used similar provisions to catch embezzlers and drug traffickers. If these methods are good for hunting criminals, they are even more important for hunting terrorists.

(APPLAUSE)

Key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire next year.

(APPLAUSE)

The terrorist threat will not expire on that schedule.

(APPLAUSE)

Our law enforcement needs this vital legislation to protect our citizens. You need to renew the Patriot Act.


Some of the parts of the act do indeed need renewed, as this article from NRO points out

I also thought the President's listing of the countries was quite good. Not only did it disprove the critics and those who claim "unilateralism"--it was funny coming on the heels of Howard Dean's rant.

With regard to the tax-cuts being made permanent, I think the president's phrasing and choice of words was fantastic. He framed it (politically) well.

I think the Prez could've done without a lot of the social stuff. The steroids in pro sports? This isn't the time to address the issue--unless you're trying to get Bud Selig fired. But more seriously, if the idea was to promote role models, there are other ways to do it. Similarly, the whole thing on abstinance education could've been saved for another time. The marriage thing possibly too--but the way he phrased it was very interesting and I wanna come back to that in another post. It's the phrasing that jumped out to me.

All in all, I liked the first half much better than the latter half.

And I have to go do reading for classes....

 
Woohoo! New Movies!


GrouchyMedia has three new movies out, and three more slated for Feb!

You may remember GrouchyMedia from such Internet hits like: Taliban Bodies, Die Terrorists Die and Bomb Saddam

Speaking of Movies, Evan Coyne Maloney has another video out. This time he interviewed MoveOn members (in the freezing cold) who were attending AlGore's talk on Global Warming (on a record cold day in NY). Here's the other movies (which are must see flicks)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004
 
SOTU Afterthoughts


First off, never watch a Republican president deliver the SOTU amongst a group of liberal friends. Not a good idea.

Second, I liked the agressive anti-terrorism parts. Let's go on the offensive and kick terrorist ass!

Third--trial lawyers are evil sharks. They're one of the big reasons healthcare is so expensive. Tort reform is long overdue. Booo Trial lawyers!

Fourth--what was with bringing up steroids and other drugs in pro sports? What's that gotta do with anything?

Fifth--Doesn't Nancy Pelosi look like Skeltor?

Sixth--was anyone else suprised that the president brought up the marriage issue? I expected it to come up somewhere along the road of the campaign--but not during the speech; especially this one. It'll score points with the right, no question, but still. The jab at activist judges will also score him points w/ the right.

Seventh--did anyone else find it funny that the cameras went to Santorum when they mentioned the marriage issue? I laughed my head off--my friends missed the humor in it I guess.

Eight--Ted Kennedy--not a happy swimmer. Heh.

 
SOTU Predictions


I predict:

That the State of the Union is strong
The WoT is not over; but hopefully we're kicking some terrorist ass.
We should make the tax cuts permenant rather than having them sunset
The left won't like the address
Terry McAulife will whine about it
Dick Cheney will appear from his secure undisclosed location
A lot of Americans are gonna be mad that their Tuesday 9pm TV shows aren't on

Additions:
Whenever I cheer for something, my liberal friends watching it with me will jeer (and vice versa)
The Democrats will give a rebuttal speech in both English and Spanish (why? I dunno. Most hispanics habla ingles).



 
Good News For Brandeis


I wonder if Brandeis is going to publicize this press release that came out today:

Campus Watch Announces: A List of Recommended Middle East Scholars

Included on this list are scholars such as: Bernard Lewis (who is beyond brilliant and amazing!), Whalid Phares, Fouad Ajami, Efraim Karsh...

Included on the list were three Brandeis professors:

Kanan Makiya the Sylvia K. Hassenfeld Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
(he's currently on a "sabatical" as he's in Iraq helping the provisional council rebuild the country)

Yitzhak Nakash--Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies
(I've only heard good things about him and his classes)

Franck Salameh--Lecturer of Literary Arabic
(My friends who take arabic courses rave about him. They've only got good things to say about him and his teaching)

These professors all deserve a round of applause....but I wonder if Brandeis will post this on its news section?



 
The Justice is Out! Get Ready for some Fiskin'!!!!


Woohoo! The first issue of the Justice is out for the semester.

I've only skimmed the headlines--and skimmed a few articles, but here's some pieces to start with for now:

Yana Litovsky writes: Free speech shrinking in the shadow of campus newspaper persecution -- I agree with her.

There's still whining over Dr. Daniel Pipes' appearance: OP-ED: Pipes protest unfairly distorted-- Again, I think these people are whining too much about Pipes.

Then in the news: Dictator down, campus responds

They only interviewed the leaders of the most liberal and "radical" groups. And they also chose to interview my faculty nemesis, the uber-leftist, *spit* Gordy Fellman *spit* [I'm being polite this time].

Of course they fail to interview anyone from United We Stand; Brandeis' pro-America club (of which I'm the President). So I'm going to fire off an email to the Justice letting 'em know that my club still exists, and we'd like our voice to be heard.

Moving on...OP-ED: Time for infighting to end between Zionist groups.

Face it, there's not going to be an end to the infighting. BTvs is an uber-left group (like ones Steven Plaut tracks) and Zahav is much to the right. There's no way they'll reconsile. Nope.

Then lets see, what else for now...

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tolerance march pointless and annoying

I agree. Go back to my November archives to read about it.

Well, that's enough Justice fun for now...



 
Anger Management issues


Howard Dean definitely has anger management issues. Oh yeah. I've been saying this for a long time....but as Drudge is currently reporting:

Stinging from his third place finish in Iowa that robbed him of his frontrunner status, Governor Howard Dean tonight gave a red faced concession speech in which he vowed to go all over the country fighting to defeat George Bush. He named the states in which he said his campaign would fight, and as he rolled out the names of the states his face became red, his gestures sharp and angry. For a few moments, it appeared Dean had slipped into an unnatural state... Developing...


I wonder how angry Dr. Dean got when he was unable to make a diagnosis at first while praciticing medicine? Or how angry was he when patients called him at odd hours?

Oh, and did anyone see Dean's speech? Did he say anything about taking the country back from Rush Limbaugh again?

Monday, January 19, 2004
 
Iowa Thoughts


I was just channel surfing (much more interesting than the advance reading I was doing) C-SPAN 1 and 2 were running "live coverage" from two different caucuses from Iowa.

Quite interesting to see how the whole caucus system works. Quite crazy at times. In one of the places it looked like they were having math problems. At the same time it was entertaining. It's interesting to see how the system works.

The big thing will be to see how the final numbers stack up. Will Sharpton or Kucinich be able to get any delegates?

 
Someone needs to get off his ego trip


Howard Dean definiitely needs to take a chill-pill and get off the ego trip that he's currently riding on.

Besides inviting himself to Jimmy Carter's place he's apparently told the news media to "Get A Life"

Definitely not a smart move. Nor was it very polite or proper to barge in on a MLK Jr. service and try to make yourself a speaker there (when you wern't even listed there in the first place).

Tsk, tsk, tsk...learn some manners....

 
The Things One Discovers


I was searching the Brandeis libraries website to look up how much it would cost to print out copies of a microfilm file (of course, the info wasn't there--this is Brandeis after all).

But lo and behold, I stumbled across something totally unrelated (by mistake) yet none the less suprising and shocking from something that happened here at Brandeis a mere 10 years ago.

With the help of Lexis Nexis (you gotta love it)--I've uncovered articles from the mainstream press surrounding this incident....and I think it's definitely worth blogging about.

Rather than making one super long long post, I'm going to compile all the articles onto one (web) page, and I'll then post links to the individual articles on this page that I put together.

It involved a then major personality who is still very prominant--and involves some individuals still at the University as well.

I think many of my readers will find it of interest. Exactly what is it? That's the big suprise! (*grin*)

Stay tuned!

Update: No, the story is not about the holocaust denial ad that once ran in the Justice

 
Problems with Atkins?


[via the Smarter Cop]

I've got one of my suitemates currently doing Atkins. He started a little less than a week ago, and he claims to have lost almost 6-7 lbs. (he estimates its water weight, but whatever). I also know that Steve and James Lielks are on it.

But as the Smarter Cop put so eliquently:

Atkins Diet gurus are now advising that its followers cut back on meat, cheese, and butter(???). Huh? That pretty much leaves Atkins diet people cutting back on.... food. Now it looks like they're pretty much right back to where they started: a regular diet.


Here's the original NYT story

I've long been skeptical of the Atkins diet--from the biochemical perspective. I understand the theory and methodolgy behind it (ketosis and the rest), but I'm still iffy on it. I know people who have been on low carb diets that worked, but these diets were not the Atkins Diet (rather they were specifically prescribed and tailored by a licensed nutritionist with the advice of a doctor).

One of the things with Atkins that raises red-flags in my eyes is that it doesn't take into account saturated fat levels. I don't think the diet is very heart healthy.

As some readers may remember, I too have been on a diet of sorts. I've been doing weight watchers, and have had success with it. I don't know the exact number of pounds I've dropped in the 3-4 weeks (!) that I've been on it (tomorrow is weigh day), but for the large part it seems to have been successful. I don't think this past week has been as good, as I didn't get that much physical exercise in (b/c of the extreme cold and a strained muscle) but otherwise it has worked for me.

Am I saying that this diet will work for everyone? No. It's been working for me. Basically, the premise is, you can eat what you want, but limit the size of your portions, and make smarter decisions. There's points and all (if you choose to follow that religiously) which also help to guide choices. That's what it's all about--smart decisions and smart portion sizes.

I just think it's suprising that the Atkins people are long overdue in putting this story out.

 
Conspiracy Generator


Looking for something fun? Why not try the new BUSH CONSPIRACY THEORY GENERATOR

It's soooo much fun. I dunno how I'm gonna get any work done today.

 
NeuroBlogging


Finally, a new neuroscience article that's been released into the mainstream press.

The Independent (UK) is reporting: Brain protein discovery may herald 'memory pill'

Here's what the Independent says:

Scientists believe that the protein chemical, cypin, is involved in learning and memory because of the role it plays in forming connections between brain cells.

It may be possible to develop memory-enhancing drugs that mimic the protein's natural effect, or at least stimulate it to work when something goes wrong, they said.

Cypin appears to be crucial for the growth of fine filaments between nerve cells, which could explain how memories are formed, said Professor Bonnie Firestein of Rutgers State University of New Jersey.


Now, I think that the paper is jumping to conclusions. Just because a protein is found doesn't automatically mean it'll automatically be able to put into pill form. Getting there isn't an instantaneous process.

This story is based on an article that recently appeared in the Journal: Nature Neuroscience so I'm gonna go read the article itself, and then do some hardcore NeuroBlogging.

Note: for anyone with access to Nature Neuroscience (likely if your on a college campus) here's the link to the article

Sunday, January 18, 2004
 
Tuesday Night Fun: State of the Union


So Tuesday night, President Bush will be delivering the State of the Union address.

But being a college student, I feel obliged to link to a version of the State of the Union Drinking Game

Disclaimer: Please note that this blog does not now, nor has we ever, encouraged irresponsible use of alcohol. It is important to know your own limits and to act accordingly. I discourage improper use of alcohol.
You may want to substitute a non-alcoholic beverage for this game.


 
Football Thoughts


It looks like New England is about to head to Houston (1:41 left on the clock)

On Indy's last drive, I'm suprised there was neither a pass interference or holding penalty called on either 3rd or 4th down--because it looked like there was a foul.

Speaking of which, what was with Indy in the first half? They didn't look like the team they were made out to be. I didn't catch much of the Colts vs. Chiefs game (I was catching a flight)--but the bits of Manning I saw looked totally different then his performance today.

This sort of reminds me of what I saw in the Fiesta Bowl a few weeks ago, when LSU beat Oklahoma. Oklahoma didn't play very well at all in the first half, and then in the second half, they started to make a comeback, only to fall short. Does anyone else see this kind of similarity?

Why didn't Brady just slide? Make it easy for himself rather than running the risk of fumbling (which he didn't do--the replay call was right).

 
Football


Thank goodness for this weekend being a three-day weekend here at school.

That enables me to be non-productive while I perform my true American duty of watching playoff football
*grin*

 
Could things get even wierder?


I've got the Israel Network on right now, and I'm watching Arutz 2 (Channel 2)'s newscast. Their "top story" is so incredibly wierd.

They're reporting that Yigal Amir, the man who assasinated then PM Yizhak Rabin in 1995 is engaged to be married. Not only that, but he's been speaking to this woman for a few months and they are indeed engaged. To make matters worse, they supposively want to start a family.

Now why is this so wierd? Not only is Yigal Amir an embarassment to most Israelis, he's also in jail for life (Israel doesn't have the death penalty save for Nazi criminals). Amir is also kept in solitary confeinment and only interacts with prison guards, no other prisoners. His cell is uniquely monitored by 8 video cameras (as they showed on the news)--the man is never gonna be a free man again.

And yet, he's getting married and wants to start a family? What a wierd, wierd, wierd world we live in.

I'm going to go grab some brunch now.

Update 1: The Jerusalem Post has the story up now (but remember who had it first!)

Update 2: Speaking of Israeli News, they're showing the Chief of Staff and some other Generals touring the Erez crossing...and its interesting to see that these men are carrying their neshek (guns--most likely a Galil). Perhaps the US Armed forces should institute this policy. Could you imagine seeing the generals with their arms at a press conference? Heh.

 
Parties


Just got in from a party. Didn't drink very much (I don't like the taste of most of the stuff to begin with. Plus I also know my limits and keep a count for my diet). Some of my friends got tipsy from their beverages. Nothing serious though. Fun times had by all. It was a "pajama party" so, you can figure out the dress code. I'll ask one of my friends if they've got any good pix on their digital cameras that I can post.
We actually had a cop stop in to tell us we were too loud--oops. (Searches for halo around here).

And yes, to those of you wondering, there were only the standard fare of Brandeis girls (reach your own conclusions).

I'm off to bed now. I've gotta wake up, do some homework, then prepare myself for an afternoon of playoff football! Wooooohoooo!

Saturday, January 17, 2004
 
Strange But True


Did anyone else know that there was an Int'l body "governing" the game of "Rock Paper Scissors"?

The world RPS Society

I wonder how many colleges have RPS clubs on campus?

 
The VP Does the right thing


Emerging from one of his secure undisclosed locations (most likely), Vice President Dick Cheney tells public the straight out truth

Cheney: Arafat 'torpedoed' peace agreement

At least the VP is telling it straight

 
Doing the right thing


Major props to the Israeli Ambassador to Sweden for destroying a piece of "art" which glorified mass murder of Jews.

Professor Plaut has more on the story from Israel

A big thumbs up and a yehi! hay da'ad! to Ambassador Zvi Mazel

Friday, January 16, 2004
 
Reich--Wrong Again




 
School Days...School Days...Freezing Cold School Days


So I had my other two classes today, Civil Liberties in America and Motor Control, Orientation and Adaptation.
The Civil Liberties class looks good--the prof seems well versed in the material, and so far he hasn't really shown any bias (either way) when he potentially could have. Now I can already guarentee that I'm going to be disagreeing with some of the people in the course (I recognized some faces), but nonetheless, it seems interesting.

Then in Motor Control, Orientation and Adaptation, there are only two of us in the class (or who showed up)--but the material seems interesting, and the professor may redesign the course because of the small enrollment--but that could also be for the better.

So far--so good. Although I already have homework (d'oh!)


Thursday, January 15, 2004
 
Those Hitler analogies: dumb and dangerous


From this week's Cleveland Jewish News: Those Hitler analogies: dumb and dangerous...Should there be an annual award for "dumb Nazi analogies"?

 
More on Sen. Kennedy's Tirade


Let's start with Jonah Goldberg:


I don't mean to get too worked up. I know people think Ted Kennedy is the 'conscience of his party' (that's the Democratic party; any other party where Ted's involved you're gonna want to bring your snorkel).


The Smarter Cop has more choice quotes from the G-file as does Aldaynet. (Read the whole G-file)

Afterwards, look at some of the responses Jonah got (which he posted in the corner)

 
We Got Another One


US indicts Hizbullah recruiter


An indictment unsealed Thursday in the US charges a man with conspiracy to provide material support to Hizbullah.

The indictment accuses Mahmoud Yussef Kourani, 32, of being a member, fighter, recruiter and fund-raiser for Hizbullah operating in Lebanon and later within the United States.

Kourani is also accused of conspiring with his brother, the Hizbullah chief of military security for southern Lebanon, to provide military support for the group.

Kourani entered the United States illegally through Mexico in February 2001, moved to the Dearborn area of Michigan, and "employed ... a Shi'ah Muslim doctrine of concealment, pretense and fraud," the US government said in the indictment.


As for the Cleveland Imam arrested, the Cleveland Plain Dealer has more on the story including a piece on the local muslim response (drink warning)
And the Cleveland Jewish News has a great, in-depth article on the story

 
How Cold Is It Today?


As of 9:56 AM EST on January 15, 2004--Observed at Bedford, Massachusetts

Temperature -1 °F / -19 °C
Windchill -15 °F / -26 °C
Wind NNW at 9 mph / 14.5 km/h

and we get to expect this PM:

North winds 10 to 15 mph...becoming northwest 15 to 25 mph this afternoon. Wind chill values as low as 30 below.


So Al Gore--where's this Global Warming thingy you speak of?

 
Good News From Brandeis


There's no issue of the Justice this week (we're just getting back to school), nonetheless, I'll take on the reporting duties of this week's news on campus.

First, at long last, by February 1, Brandeis will have a campus wide wireless ("WiFi") network!
[too bad I have a desktop computer, because I love WiFi]

Second, in really, really good news (at least to me): Life Sciences Receive a Grant from NIH to Establish Core Facilities for Neurobiology at Brandeis!


This 2.25 million grant will support a centralized infrastructure for molecular, genetic, and cell biological investigations of neuronal function.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) has awarded a group of Brandeis investigators a grant to develop three core facilities to support neurobiological research at Brandeis University. These facilities will provide equipment and personnel for microarray analysis, for the generation and handling of transgenic mice, and for an integrated, multi-instrument imaging facility.

This five-year grant awarded to Brandeis University will support projects in the laboratories of twelve faculty members in the life sciences: The projects in these laboratories are joined together in a matrix of shared interests in synaptic transmission and neuronal plasticity, modulation of behavior, and the use of genetic models for studying neuronal development and function. These facilities will also be available for use by the larger Brandeis and Boston research communities.


The second of the two is really cool. Perhaps I'm more excited about it as a neuroscience student, but let me just say this is a real step forward for Brandeis' internationally recognized neuroscience program. My only regret is that I'll be graduating before this will begin to be implimented.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004
 
AlGore: Gone Overboard


The headline at Drudge: GORE TO DECRY 'GLOBAL WARMING' ON NEW YORK CITY'S COLDEST DAY IN DECADE!

Now here in Boston, it's going to be the coldest that it's been in the past 50 years!

It's going to go as low as -11 here tomorrow (at least, w/o windchill) and friday, even lower, with a high of 6.

Global Warming? Where?

Now, a liberal friend of mine tried to tell me that the first phase of global warming is infact a temperature decrease...blah, blah, blah...I still think a lot of the talk is nothing more than junk science

 
Discoveries made in Space--a Brandeis Connection


No, it's not an "urban legend" folks. Brandeis does indeed have an underground NASA lab (I've been there--it really exists!)

This lab, formally named "The Ashton Graybiel Spatial Orientation Laboratory", and it does have strong ties with NASA.

Some of the things researched there include Motor Control, Spatial Orientation, the effects of weightlessness on the body, human sensory control, and other things. [visit the site for more information].

With the President having just given his speech on outer space, it will definitely be interesting to see if there's anything in the school paper commenting about the President's plan.

 
Question of the Day


When Ted Kennedy delivers a speech diatribe, does anyone really care?
[leave your answers in the comments]

 
Busted!


I love it when Brandeis Professors go on TV and after their appearance are fact-checked in the blogsphere...and they get caught twisting the truth or lying.

Today's winning professor is none other than former Sec. of Labor (under Clinton) Robert Reich. He told a whopper on Hardball last night.

Busted! Ha!

 
Brrrrrr


Current Conditions here in Waltham:

Updated: 8:56 AM EST on January 14, 2004
Observed at Bedford, Massachusetts
Temperature -4 °F / -20 °C
Windchill -19 °F / -28 °C
Humidity 46%
Dew Point -20 °F / -29 °C
Wind NW at 8 mph / 12.9 km/h


The forcast for today

Today. Mostly sunny. Blustery and much colder. Highs only around 8. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph. Gusts to around 40 mph this morning. Wind chill values around minus 20.


Let's hear it for global warming!
[/sarcasm]

 
School Days


Well, classes formally begin tomorrow. So at 11:10AM I'll be in NEJS 114b Biblical Ritual, Cult, and Magic (I'm taking it to complete my Hebrew minor)

Then in the afternoon I've got my PE course, and after that, I plan on hitting the gym.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004
 
Got one in Cleveland


[via Hootinan] At long last, Federal Authorities have arrested Cleveland's Imam Fawaz Damra on immigration violation charges.

Now Damra isn't your good ol ROP Imam. Noooo...

He withheld information on his membership or affiliation with several groups, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
He's been investigated before for anti-semetic comments at an Islam conference Hatefest.

I blogged about Damra last year in Feb. when Sami Al-Arian was arrested.

You see, in the 50 page indictment of Al-Arian, a Plain Dealer reporter noted that he was the unamed co-conspirator number one. The first story on it can be found here. Then a follow up story was written which can be found here.

My opinion: investigate his terror connections, and either jail him for them or deport him--ASAP.

 
Exclusive: The Latest Update from the Israel Hating Group ANSWER



Fwd: OPEN LETTER FROM ARAB-AMERICAN & MUSLIM COMMUNITY TO U.S. ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT
Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2004 21:06:03 -0800 (PST)
From: "International A.N.S.W.E.R."
To: info@internationalanswer.org

Today, forty-one Arab American and Muslim organizations issued an open letter that both supports
the March 20 Call to Action and challenges the anti-war movement in the U.S. to take a principled
stand in defense of self-determination and in opposition to all U.S. plans for colonial occupation.
This important letter can be read in full below.

On Saturday, January 10, a large, broad coalition met to map out plans for March 20 demonstration
activities. The organizations that met included those that initiated and endorsed the March 20 Call to Action: A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) Coalition, Al-Awda - the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Arab Muslim American Federation, Free Palestine Alliance, Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation, Muslim Student Association of the U.S. and Canada and National Lawyers Guild. Other groups that are mobilizing for March 20 were also invited to attend. New York City Labor Against the War, the Campus Anti-War Network and the International Socialist Organization participated in the meeting. United for Peace and Justice sent a message declining to attend.

The demands and political program of the coalition are focused around the Call to Action issued on January 2. To read that call, see

The principles of unity of the coalition include "Bring the troops home now!", "End colonial occupation from Iraq to Palestine and everywhere!", "Stop the attacks on civil liberties!", and "Money for jobs, education, healthcare and housing - Not war!" The coalition is also taking an explicit position opposing internationalizing the occupation of Iraq, instead insisting on the Iraqi people's unconditional right to exercise self-determination.
* * * * *
Begin planning now to hold a demonstration in your city on March 20, 2004. Hundreds of cities around the world are issuing, circulating and joining this call. For more information, contact the A.N.S.W.E.R. National Office at 202-544-3389.

A large number of organizations from the Arab-American and Muslim community have issued the following open letter concerning mobilizing for the March 20 demonstration. This is an important statement and we encourage everyone to post and circulate it widely.

AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE ARAB-AMERICAN AND MUSLIM
COMMUNITY TO THE US ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT

[repeated from above]

As a result, and in the context of a long history of being silenced and marginalized, the Arab-American and Muslim community prepared this open letter to the movement.

AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE ARAB-AMERICAN AND MUSLIM COMMUNITY TO THE US ANTI-WAR MOVEMENT

Dear peace and justice organizations and activists,

On March 20, 2004, the world will mobilize against war and colonial occupations. The significance of this historic day is evident to all and requires no further elaboration. The political clarity and character of this mobilization in the US, however, remains illusive.

This is where our community stands:

In confronting war, the people of Palestine and Iraq have paid dearly. They stand against the imperial project shoulder to shoulder with communities of color and the working class in the United States, along with great many subjugated peoples around the globe - from Afghanistan to Colombia, and from the Philippines to Vieques, and on. Without a doubt, the Palestinian and Iraqi people are both welded together in an inextricable unity at the forefront of the global anti-war movement, transforming themselves as a whole as its embodiment and paying in its defense with the dearest of all - their very existence. Yet, despite every home destroyed, child murdered, acre confiscated and tree uprooted, town colonized and ethnically cleansed, wall built, refugee remaining nation-less, and incremental robbery of their self-determination, they remain the very antithetical formulation of empire and with a vision of justice for all.

In the United States, we, Arab-Americans and Muslims,have been maliciously targeted, stripped of our rights, and positioned outside the constitutional framework of this country. A new COINTELPRO has been unleashed against our homes and living rooms, as our fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters are plucked away and thrown into unknown prison cells. Thus, in a continuum of history, we stand with African Americans, Japanese Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and all others in the painful struggle for justice. From them all, we take our cue, for they are our predecessors and our partners in this long march.

Accordingly, we the undersigned hereby declare that:

1. We do not accept delinking the struggle of the Palestinian people from the anti-war movement, and regard the struggle in Palestine, as it is viewed worldwide, to be central to any peace and justice mobilization.

2. We insist that the Palestinian right to return and to self-determination are the key anchors of thePalestinian struggle, and that organizations that attempt to diminish, sidetrack, or abrogate these rights, regardless of any other position they may take on Palestine, are acting contrary to the will and aspiration of the Palestinian people.

3. We view all attempts to relegate our collective presence to the margin and to tokenize our
participation in the movement to be racist in character. In its attempt to silence the Arab and
Muslim voices for decades, particularly that of the Palestinian people, the movement in the US has stood alone in the global movement for justice. We see ourselves as full partners in leading the movement as signified in the heavy price we continue to pay along the way, and reject any attempt to objectify our presence.

4. We regard the positions that the "colonial occupation of Iraq must be internationalized", or that
ending the occupation must be conducted over a period of time until the "Iraqis are able to secure their democracy", as implicitly colonial and racist. These are positions that are rooted in the construct of "manifest destiny" and the "white man's burden" to "civilize".

5. We call on our people everywhere to hold all organizations accountable to the positions they take, especially those that depict racist attitudes towards us, implicitly or otherwise, particularly those that tokenize and objectify our struggle. Any organization or movement that finds it acceptable to minimize or disregard for political expediency the struggle of any people should not be allowed to function within the global justice movement. Justice is neither selective, nor partial or conditional.

We are firm on these principles for the March 20th mobilization and beyond as we call on all communities and organizations to mobilize and stand in force under
the following unifying five slogans:

1. End all colonial occupations from Iraq to Palestine
to everywhere!
2. Bring the troops home NOW!
3. No to internationalizing colonial occupations!
4. Stop the attacks on civil liberties!
5. Money for jobs, education, and healthcare not for
war!

As we salute and stand empowered with sectors of the movement that have taken a principled stand on ustice, we seek to participate in the empowerment of all as we call for a genuine global united front against war.

All out on March 20, 2004!

(List in alphabetical order. To be included, please
write to: rashmawi@sbcglobal.net)

1. Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition 2. Al-Bireh Palestine Society, California Chapter
3. Al-Qalam Institute
4. American Muslims for Jerusalem (AMJ)
5-9. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee,
Greater Sacramento Area, New Jersey, Seattle Los Angeles/Orange County San Francisco Bay Area Chapter
10. Arab Center of Washington - Seattle
11. Arab Muslim American Federation
12. Arab-American Community Center, Chicago
13. Arab-American Forum, New Hampshire
14. Arab-American Press Guild
15. San Francisco Bay Area Palestine Coalition
16. Canada-Palestine Association
17. Canada-Palestine Friendship Society
18. Canadian Arab Federation
19. Committee for Democratic Palestine - Canada
20. Committee for Justice - USA
21. Deir Yassin Society of New York
22. Free Palestine Alliance - USA (FPA)
23. Friends of Ghassan Kanafani, Toronto Chapter
24. Kana'an Review
25. Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation (MAS Freedom Foundation)
26. Muslim Students Association of the U.S. and Canada (MSA-National)
27. Muslim Students Association, California State University, Sacramento
28. Muslim Students Association, UC-Davis
29. National Council of Arab Americans (NCAA)
30. Palestine Children's Welfare Fund
31. Palestine House Educational and Cultural Center,Canada
32. Palestine Right of Return Congress - USA
33-35. Palestine Solidarity Committee - Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago,
36. Palestinian American Women's Association (PAWA)
37. Sacred Roots
38. Students for Justice in Palestine, California State University, Sacramento
39. Students for Justice in Palestine, University of California, Davis
40. The Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP)
41. The United Muslim Association of High Schools Club


Note: The "Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP)" is a known front group for Hamas. The ADC is also a questionable organization. AMJ also is a front group for Islamists. (and that's just the tip of the iceberg)

This letter was received from a university listserv.