Arab Spring Reconsidered

Arab Spring Reconsidere

An interesting article, translated from French, by Olivier Roy. It’s difficult but worth it. And unlike ninety-percent of what you’ll read on the Arab Spring his arguments are not backed by something the journalist picked up off of Twitter an hour before his deadline but by actually, you know, doing real work.

What I am always amazed at is how many people, especially within journalism are willing to move forward with copy that has little to do with the critical questions experts are asking. The New York Times is always quick to champion the oddest aspects of the story, be it the ultimately doomed attempt by Kofi Annan, to the hope that the United States State Department cares at all what it twenty-seconds-or-less experts have to write. I’d attribute this inexplicable phenomenon to the ease in which someone can learn and understand journalease. On the other hand it is near to impossible to truly understand these Arab countries without learning a foriegn language or two, spending several years there and using a little bit of what the Hun would call zitsfleisch. In other words, actually working or the bane of anyone attempting to make a career out of journalism

Without further ado, take a look at the link from the Journal of Democracy.


Left or Right? Not Politics, but Driving.

Left or Right? Not Politics, but Driving.

Why do some countries drive on the left, and some drive on the right side of the road? 

Here’s one summary, which essentially says that Continental Europe was introduced to right hand driving by a combination of economic factors and the French Revolution. Originally everyone was on the left, because otherwise swords would hit coming the other way (swords were worn on the left because it’s easier to draw them from their scabbards than if worn on the right).

I thought it was interesting. I hope you enjoy reading. 


What I Discovered Today

What I Discovered Today

A long, long time ago in a university far, far away (meh, Star Wars is playing, don’t judge me because it’s on my mind) someone once told me that a centrist Democrat that was running for a local State Senate position was ’embarrassingly rightwing.’ Indeed he was rightwing this, rightwing that and I didn’t know what to make of it at the time. I’ve thought about it a lot. 

Anyhow, to cut short a long story you don’t rightly care about here is an equally ’embarrassingly rightwing’ site run by centrist Democrats. Miracles of miracles, it isn’t being run for apologetic purposes. There’s no shy, ‘I know I should be more liberal, but I was raised Southern’ (with a capital S, thankya) or belligerent ‘I am true, Blue Dog Democrat and a real sonofabitch.’ Eh, poor motifs I know. Point being, they are legitimate centrists. I’m in love. 

Mapping Judaism

Mapping Judaism

Courtesy of some fine fellows over at the Economist’s online side, the internet net now has a nifty graphic on Judaism. Who knew the U.S. was the second-favorite spot of Jews?