Welcome to the David Victor Vector Blog

Welcome to the David Victor Vector blog. This is blog that covers religious observances around the world international affairs and global business. This blog describes religious holidays for most major religions as well as raising issues dealing with globalization, international business ethics, cross-cultural business communication and political events affecting business in an integrated world economy. I look forward your discussion and commentary on these articles and subjects. Enjoy!

Friday, November 7, 2014

GABC Journal Third Issue Published

The third issue of the Global Advances in Business Communication Journal has just been published.  

The GABC Journal  is co-sponsored by Eastern Michigan University, the University of Antwerp and the Technological University of Malaysia.  


This is a free journal available online at

http://commons.emich.edu/gabc/
Since our first issue through today's post (November 7, 2014), the journal has had 13,672 downloads (as of November 4, 2014). This is an exceptionally high response to a new journal.  

Five articles have had over 1000 hits. The highest article has had over 3200 hits. This is "Global Advances in Business Communication from Multiple Perspectives: A Panel Discussion from Experts in the Field." 

The new issue contains articles from some of the top scholars in the field coming from China, Mexico, Japan and the United States: 

  1. “Mobile Phone Use in Meeting among Chinese Professionals: Perspectives on Multicommunication and Civility” co-authored by Peter Cardon of the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business (and current President of the Association for Business Communication) and Ying Dai of the Shanghai Business School
  2. “The Relationship Between Culture and Legal Systems and the Impact on Intercultural Business Communication”
  3. co-authored by Iris Varner and Katrin Varner, both of Illinois State University College of Business
  4. “The Role of Linguistic Ability and Business Expertise for Turn-taking in intercultural Business Communication,"
  5. by Misa Fujio of Toyo University, Tokyo, Japan
  6. "Managerial Use of Text Messaging in International Organizations" co-authored by José Guadalupe Torres and Roger Conaway both of the ITESM - San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Please do download the article and let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

News Round-up: Notes from May-September 2014

I regularly post articles of news events on Facebook and Twitter, with a bit of commentary on each. In time, these get lost in the depths of the newsfeeds, so I thought I would start saving some of these here.

In many of my classes, I ask students to keep journals of, among other things, articles and thoughts on current events.  I post articles on the various newsfeeds at least in part to inspire comment for them although I suppose that this is my own way of keeping a journal.

For the purposes of this blog, I have sorted the articles into categories. I have otherwise just left these as I had posted them.

The photos are those that came up from the sources when I posted the articles on Facebook. The links should lead you to the photos and their sources as well as to the articles.

These articles cover my entries from May through the end of September, 2014.

Let me know what you think.


Announcement of David Victor Vector Posts


May 24, 2014

New post on the David Victor Vector: "French-Speaking Switzerland and France Compared: Some Personal Musings"


June 27, 2014

Tomorrow evening (depending on the sighting of the moon) begins the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan Mubarek to all of my Muslim friends! Want to learn more about this important holiday of Islam? See my updated post on the David Victor Vector.




August 4, 2014


Tonight Monday, August 4, 2014 at sunset and continuing through sunset on Tuesday, August 5 is the Jewish holiday of Tisha B’Av. Tisha B'Av is the date on which both the First and Second Temples were destroyed (the Romans selected the date on purpose). It is also the date on which a string of tragedies have befallen the Jewish people.

The holiday is a major day of mourning for Orthodox and most Conservative Jews, for whom it is a fast day. By contrast, it is treated as a Memorial Day by Reconstructionist Jews. Finally, it is wholly opposed by many Reform Jews, and not observed on theological grounds since the founding of the state of Israel.
For more on this holiday, please see my (updated) blog post on the David Victor Vector at:

To those observing the day, may you have a meaningful observance.

August 10, 2014

I have now received dozens of requests by email or FB to give my position on the situation in Gaza. I
just wrote a blogpost on my blog the David Victor Vector. I am trying to think my way through this. My opinion is not set in stone... these are just musings but I am sharing them here. I will post one more on the separate issue of the anti-Jewish attacks in Europe and Australia that seem to growing out of the Gaza war. After that, I plan to remain silent again and just observe. "Some Thoughts on the Current Crisis in Gaza":


August 20, 2014 


Upcoming calendar of religious observances affecting the Fall 2014 semester. New post on the David Victor Vector: Fall 2014 Religious Holidays:

http://davidvictorvector.blogspot.com/2014/08/fall-2014-religious-holidays.html




September 30, 2014

Happy Durga Puja to all of my Hindu friends!  




Country Coverage/ International Relations/ Global Business

May 2, 2014


The key point here is how China is responding to Japan's actions with the US's newly reiterated support for Japan's claim to Senkaku: joint naval exercises with Russia. Scary developments. 
"Japan to conduct island defense drill amid tension with China," Reuters

July 28, 2014

Excellent piece on the Swiss success & what the EU can learn from it. Charlemagne: Hail Helvetia | The Economist  http://econ.st/1ss0fUo




July 29, 2014





July 31, 2014

Thanks to Bill Weihl for sharing about Facebook's "global" accommodation. I like this a lot. 

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/07/31/facebook_notifications_icon_globe_changes_with_location_as_american_users.html

[Note 1: The tag in the repost read: 
"This Subtle Icon Change Shows How Facebook Is Becoming Less Americentric." 
The article, though, actually read: 
"Facebook's Globe Is No Longer Americentric," by Will Oremus, Slate.Com 
Note 2: Bill Weihl in addition to being a friend from high school is Manager of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability at Facebook.
Note 3: The illustrations are subtle. Look at the globe on the right of the icons below. The hemispheres are different.]. 





August 7, 2014 

Thank you to [University of Texas Professor and co-author with me of an upcoming book on Brazil] Orlando Kelm for sharing this so that I can pass it along to you here. 



[Note: Since several people had mentioned the hornets and NOT the geography here, let me point out that it is the MAP that matters. This is CNN (a supposedly knowledgable source). That is a map of BRAZIL. The location of HONG KONG is in south China. The spot on this map is about where Sao Paulo is located!].


August 8, 2014

Today marks the 69th anniversary of the most shameful day in US military history: the Atomic Bomb dropped on Nagasaki. After Hiroshima, Japan was already attempting to surrender. After Hiroshima, there was no question as to what the bomb would do. The 2nd bomb was dropped regardless of this and in a largely civilian target at that. I am normally proud of our US military and especially so of the US role in World War II... but I am deeply ashamed of the destruction if Nagasaki. May all of its victims and their descendants know peace, and may we always remember that day and learn from it.
"Nagasaki mayor urges forum for N-ban talks," Japan News
http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0001486323

August 8, 2014

Thanks to [Japanese friend] for posting this so that I can now share it with you. These are great examples! "20 English Phrases That Have Totally Different Meanings in Japan," by Andrew Miller, Business Insider:


http://www.businessinsider.com/20-english-phrases-only-used-in-japan-2014-8?utm_content=buffer35fab&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

August 8, 2014 

Mexico opens up its state-controlled sectors. This is big news. Now the question is how transparent can they keep it all. "Mexico dreams face test after opening to investors," Yahoo News.
http://news.yahoo.com/mexico-dreams-face-test-opening-investors-172943353.html;_ylt=AwrBJR5tqORTryEAJLqZmolQ

August 9, 2014



NHK World Radio commemorates the anniversary if the Nagasaki bombing with a Brazilian connection. The podcast is 20 minutes long but well worth your time. It is called,
"Bomb Victims' 69 Years Living Abroad Part 3: A Prayer For Peace Passed On in Brazil."
The link to today's podcasts is here: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/radio/program/

August 11, 2014
My answer? Because the Gulf States rightly differentiate between the unacceptable behavior of Hamas and the Brotherhood to which they are justly opposed and the Palestinian people who are suffering under their reckless actions. The Gulf States DO support Palestine in the form of Fatah. The Gulf States do send humanitarian aid to those suffering in Gaza. They do not support Hamas. Why should they? "Why are the Arab Gulf countries silent on Gaza?" by Habiba Hamid, The Guardian (Op-Ed piece). http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/08/arab-gulf-states-silent-on-gaza

August 13, 2014 

Important trend well explained. "Why South Korea is so distinctively Christian," The Economist: http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2014/08/economist-explains-6



August 13, 2014

A Japanese take on Putin's aggression: "The Japanese military in 1941 allowed themselves to believe that America and Britain did not have the will to fight and would give in. They were wrong." "Threat from Putin's Russia (Op-Ed piece)," The Japan Times:

August 14, 2014 

May Pope Francis bring peace to the region. I so admire this Pope. "I am here with peace in mind," by Kang Seung-woo, The Korea Times:


August 14, 2014

Will Brazil be GM's next China? Important to watch. "GM undergoing 'massive transformation', Wall Street Journal: http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/gm-undergoing-massive-transformation-1408027026?mobile=y

[Note: This prompted an exchange with a Chinese friend worth citing here.}

Chinese friend: GM has been in Brazil for a long time, before they started operating in China.

Me:  Indeed they have! I meant to suggest that the concerted effort in Brazil could turn Brazil (long an underperforming market for GM relatively speaking) into the company's next profit center.

August 14, 2014

Mexico is growing as a final destination for the "American Dream." "The New American Dream May Be in Mexico," by Jan-Albert Hootsen, Vocativ https://www.vocativ.com/world/mexico-world/mexican-migrants/

August 16, 2014 
Pope Francis as CFO. Fortune's Shawn Tully has written a comprehensive overview of the pontiff's overhaul of the Vatican's business side. This is a first-rate explanation covering business ethics, NGO's as financial entities and the influence if inspired (and inspiring) leadership on redirecting the course of a complex organization. I so admire what Pope Francis has done and is still doing. "This pope means business," by Shawn Tully,  Fortune: http://fortune.com/2014/08/14/this-pope-means-business/

August 18, 2014 

Dos antiguas ciudades mayas perdidos se encuentra en Campeche. (Two ancient lost Mayan cities found in Campeche.) "Descrubren dos ciudades mayas en la selva de Mexico," UltimaHora.com: http://m.ultimahora.com/descubren-dos-ciudades-mayas-la-selva-mexico-n821468.html


August 18, 2014 

Dubai bans entry of German Cirque de Soleil performer based in his appearance (which is admittedly disturbing but in no way merits banning). Dubai may not be so open-minded as it purports to be it seems to me.  "Pierced Guinness record holder refused entry to Dubai," Deutsche Welle:


August 18, 2014 

"Forgiveness is the door that leads to reconciliation," Pope Francis pronounced during his concluding Mass in South Korea. He extended his message to the two Koreas, to China and to the "WWII comfort women" -- this is a good message for us all to remember, regardless of our faith, our nationality or the wrongs we have experienced.

August 20, 2014

The growing opportunities for professional translators explained. "Internationalism prompts boom in language business," by Patrick Gillespie, McClatchey Washington Bureau, Centre Daily Times:

August 22, 2014 

How far does your dollar go? I liked this fun little infographic about purchasing power parity in easy terms. I hope you like it too 

August 22, 2014

Who has ruled where in the Middle East: 5000 years of history in 90-seconds. Take a look. 

August 23, 2014 
John Campbell provides a useful (if chilling) overview of the experience of Ebola in West Africa and the inability of weak states with collapsing health systems to address it. "Africa in Transition: Ebola 'a Complete Disaster," Council on Foreign Relations:



August 23, 2014 

An upside (sort-of) to those Mexicans deported from the United States. "Deported Mexicans Find New Life at Call Centers," by Elliot Spagat and Omar Millan, Associated Press:

August 23, 2014

Why Berlin is unlike anywhere else in Germany. Fun piece from Deutsche Welle. "In Berlin, rules were made to be broken."

August 25, 2014

Curious as to what the least visited country is by region? A fun little piece tells us this from The Telegraph (UK)]: "The world's least visited countries. " So what are they?
Northern Europe: Iceland
Western Europe: Liechtenstein
Central/Eastern Europe: Moldova
Southern Europe: San Marino
Africa: Sierra Leone
North America: Canada
Central America: Belize
Caribbean: Montserrat
South America: Guyana
Northeast Asia: Mongolia
Southeast Asia: East Timor
South Asia: Bhutan
Oceania: Tuvalu
At the least visited of the least visited countries? Tuvalu wins this honor.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/11040796/The-worlds-least-visited-countries-2014.html

August 25, 2014

Thanks to [a student] for sharing this so I could pass it on to you. Fascinating place Iceland. I remember seeing first-hand the way in which so much of the landscape was altered by volcano-caused glacier floods along the western shore of the Ring Road. Truly a staggering force unleashed by these situations. "Why Iceland's Volcanoes Have Vexed Humans for Centuries," by Alexandra Witze, National Geographic.com 

August 25, 2014 

Today is the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of Paris from the Nazis. "Paris to honour 70th anniversary of liberation," by Joshua Melvin, The Local -- France:





August 25, 2014

Whatever the outcome, Marina Silva's candidacy will put environmental protection front and center in Brazil's presidential campaign. A New Entry Is Shaking Up Brazil's Vote," by Simon Romero, New York Times:


August 26, 2014 

One of the most insightful heads of state anywhere in the world, Uruguay's President José Mujica is interviewed by The Economist. I respect Mujica greatly and so I read the "extended" interview online rather than just the excerpts in the print version. It was worth the extra time. Mujica elaborates on the legalization of marijuana in his country, on finding a middle way between free market economy and redistribution of resources, of the questionable development of free trade which began with the founding of the WTO following the Uruguay Rounds held in his own country, on his time as a political prisoner, on the progress in the role of women and on the changing power politics as China becomes the dominant trade partner in Latin America.... and much more. If you want to get insight into Latin America (and not just Uruguay), read this interview. You won't regret doing so. "A conversation with President Jose Mujica," The Economist:


August 27, 2015 

Marina Silva is now slightly ahead of incumbent Dilma Rousseff in Brazil's presidential race. . She is apassionate environmentalist, an evangelical Protestant and from Brazil's far northwest state of Acre in the heart of the tropical rainforest.All three of these represent game-changing new elements in politics at the presidential level. Ms. Silva is the replacement for Eduardo Campos, who died in a plane crash a few weeks ago, so she rose quickly and not through the usual channels. This is well worth watching. "Rising Political Star Upends Brazilian Presidential Race," by Luciana Magalhaes and Rogerio Jelmayer, Wall Stree Journal:


August 27, 2014

Finland may join NATO. Russia's current aggression may push Helsinki to do what decades of the Cold War couldn't. Even if Finland remains neutral, the fact that it has put this into discussion publicly is an eye-opener of just how aggressive Putin's policies appear to be. "Finland Says NATO an Option After Russia 'Violates' Border Laws," by Kati Pahjanpalo, Bloomberg.com

August 27, 2014 

[Reposted without comment]: "Revisiting Ricardo: Why globalisation is not reducing inequality within developing countries: Defenders of globalisation often say that, whatever distress it may cause for rich-world workers, it has been good for poor countries. Between 1988 and 2008, global inequality, as measured by the distribution of income between rich and poor countries, has narrowed. But within each country, the story is less rosy: globalisation has resulted in widening inequality in many poor places." The Economist:  http://econ.st/1q3bzEC

August 28, 2014

More Chinese soft power influence, this time in Vanuatu. I wish the US and EU would do more of this. "China to help Vanuatu with airport development," Radio New Zealand:

August 28, 2014

Hooray! Kudos to Brazil for putting an end to this! "Brazil pursues Amazon 'destroyers': Brazilian police say they have dismantled a criminal orgnisation they believe was the 'biggest destroyer' of the Amazon rainforest, committing crimes worth millions of dollars," BBC:

August 28, 2014

Kia announces a $1 billion Mexican plant in the same week GM announces it is shutting its Cadillac
plant. GM is going in the wrong direction. BMW, Mazda and Daimler have all expanded in Mexico in the months leading up to the Kia entry. Why? Mexico is a growing domestic car market and leads the world in Free Trade Agreements. Those are big factors well beyond the major labor differential from the US or Canadian rates for equal (often better) quality control. This is a trend GM should be watching. "Mexico Auto Industry: Why are Kia Motors, BMW, Nissan and Mercedes Headed South of the Border?" by Angelo Young, International Business Times:

August 28, 2014 

Great insight fro the Council on Foreign Affairs to the layers of understanding of Islamist extremism from Boko Haram in Nigeria to ISIS in Syria and Iraq to Al Shabab in Somalia and more... Long but worth your time. "Islamic Extremism and the Rise of ISIS," by Jonathan Masters, Council on Foreign Affairs: 

September 5, 2014

The Global Competitiveness Index is out. The top five are: 
5. Germany
4. Finland
3. USA
2. Singapore 
1. Switzerland 

September 6, 2014

René Nyberg, Finland's former ambassador to Russia has penned a near-perfect op-ed piece in the NY Times placing Ukraine in the context of his country's "Finlandization" strategy of successfully surviving Russia on its border.  "Finland's Lesson for Ukraine," (Op-Ed piece), New York Times:

September 6, 2014

The ger (traditional Mongolian tent) is still widespread in Mongolia, giving "tent city" a wholly different meaning in Ulaan Baatar!" "Life in Ulaanbaatar's tent city is hard -- but Mongolians won't give up their gets," by Peter Geoghegan, The Guardian:



September 8, 2014 

Ian Goldin (shown at left) pens a perceptive piece on the systemic risks -- which he calls the "Butterfly Effect" -- associated with globalization. This is not an anti-globalization diatribe (Goldin is a former VP of the World Bank and currently Director of the Oxford Martin School and Professor of Globalization and Development at the University of Oxford). Rather it is a careful statement of the systemic risks that are the opposite side of the coin to globalization's systemic benefits. Well worth considering.

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2014/09/04/globalisation-has-created-substantial-benefits-but-global-governance-must-evolve-to-meet-the-challenges-posed-by-new-systemic-risks/

September 9, 2014

The role of the economy in Brazil's upcoming election. Good analysis here. "Brazil election: Economy at the Heart of the Battle," by Ruth Costas, BBC News.  http://www.bbc.com/news/business-28757725?SThisFB

September 11, 2014


Boko Haram keeps growing in Nigeria -- the view from Deutsche Welle in Germany. "'Boko Haram has taken over a whole region'  DW article's leader read: 
One-hundred and fifty days ago almost 300 girls were abducted by Boko Haram in northern Nigeria. Too little has been done since then, local politician Peter Biye Gumtha, tells DW. And the situation is only getting worse."
http://www.dw.de/boko-haram-has-taken-over-a-whole-region/a-17913936

September 11, 2014

The independence referendum in Scotland should have implications elsewhere... most notably in Spain. Scotland independence referendum: the view from Catalonia The Guardian's  leader read: "Catalans are inspired by what they see in Scotland - no matter which way the vote goes on 19 September." 
Of note was the comment posted from a friend and former student from Spain copied here:


Lame article from my point of view as it doesn't reflect any of the non-separatist opinion that doesn't want an independence or referendum in Catalonia. 
Scotland and Catalonian cases cannot be compared. The UK doesn't have a Constitution and everythin
g is ruled by the Parliament, who agreed to transfer Scotland the right to vote. In Spain we have a Constitution. This Constitutions as any other Constitution in the world (except for the USSR, Ethiopia and Jugoslavia) only allows referendums to be done to the whole country, not to a specific part of the country.





September 13, 2014


Augusto Pinochet with Salvador Allende
Chile remembers the "other 9-11"-- as should all of us. The Latin Times was one of many sources with pieces remembering the 1973 US-backed coup that overthrew the fairly elected -- though Socialist -- Chilean President Salvador Allende and placed in power the brutal, right-wing regime of General Augusto Pinochet. 

By time Pinochet was forced to resign in 1990, his administration had brutalized the country.  According to the conservative figures of the Valech Report (the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture), the Pinochet regime Most estimates put the figure of the at much higher, with the upper estimate at 3200 people killed. 

  • murdered 2279 political dissenters, opponents and their families. 
  • left 1248 Chileans categorized as "desaparecidos" or "disappeared ones" -- who presumably are dead as well. 
  • arrested 80,000 people (mostly on trumped up charges) 
  • tortured  28,000 people in 17 designated "torture centers" through 
    • sexual abuse including repeated rape and sexual abuse in the presence of their families
    • waterboarding
    • electrical shocks
    • limb amputation
    • running over limbs with trucks
    • the "telephone" (beating the ears until deafness)
    • attacks by dogs
    • attacks by rats held in containment in the victim's underwear
    • psychological torture

It should be pointed out that this does this include the 200,000 Chileans who went into exile freeing for their lives. 

It is a shameful chapter of US foreign policy that from 1973-1990, the United States openly supported the Pinochet regime despite verifiable knowledge of what was taking place. 

It is true that Chile's economy was transformed by all of this. The restructuring of Chile into a market economy made it among the most shining success stories in Latin America. This was the result of the "Chicago Boys" who were roughly 100 US-trained economic and financial leaders almost all (as the name suggests) trained at the University of Chicago under the direction of Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger.  These include four of its five Ministers of Finance during this time: Jorge Cauas (1975-77), Sergio de Castro (1977-82), Sergio de Cuadra (1982-83), Hernan Buchi (1985-99). Yet the implementation of US-style free market economic policies came at an unforgivable human cost. 


On October 10, 1998, the Spain’s Batasar Garzón formally indicted Pinochet for human rights violations – not in Spain but in Chile (although the charges included torture accusations committed against 94 Chileans who were now Spanish citizens).  An international arrest warrant was then issued. On October 17, 1998 (one week later), Pinochet was arrested in London when he arrived there for medical treatment. Again, he was arrested for crimes committed in Chile, not the UK.  The United States and Chile itself called on Britain and Spain to release Pinochet stating that a head of state had immunity, unless tried in his or her own homeland. This became a watershed case in the matter of universal jurisdiction regarding crimes against humanity. The arrest stood (although many of the charges were dropped) despite the fact that the arrest took place without a warrant or even a request from Pinochet’s home country. Pinochet was very ill when a compromise was reached and he was allowed to return to Chile. Chile granted him a status of “ex-president” through a constitutional amendment. This “ex-president” status provided him immunity from prosecution (and a stipend). This was itself reversed for the so-called “Caravan of Death” case (in which 97 civilians in 1973 were killed by death squad while under military protection and another 75 “disappeared”). In the end, Pinochet was sentenced to house arrest then tried for various corruption charges and secret bank accounts.  on and off until his death on December 10, 2006.
http://www.latintimes.com/chile-remembers-911-why-date-important-south-american-countrys-history-260845

September 13, 2014


The first among what is likely to be many Western nations likely to do so soon. Australia boosts terror threat level to ‘high’ for first time in 10 years amid reports its citizens are fighting with ISIS.
"Australia boosts terror threat level to ‘high’ for first time in 10 years amid reports its citizens are fighting with ISIS" by Rob McGuire, Associated Press,  The National Post (Toronto).
http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/09/12/australia-boosts-terror-threat-level-to-high-for-first-time-in-10-years-amid-reports-its-citizens-are-fighting-with-isis/

September 13, 2014 

The Economist's attempt to explain the "messy political mosaic" of the Islamic State in relation to the Syrian government, the Syrian opposition, the Syrian Kurds, Turkey, the US & EU, Israel, Saudi Arabia & the Arab League, the Iraqi official government, the Iraqi Kurds, the Iraq Shia minorities, Iran, al-Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra. Whew! Just listing the players is enough to make one's head spin. "The next war against global jihadism." 
http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21617113-america-gathering-allies-long-campaign-against-extremists-iraq-and




September 15, 2014


The battle for the future direction of Hong Kong -- China seems headed down a questionable path: Democracy in China: The struggle for Hong Kong in The Economist provides an op-ed piece with much to ponder. The leader for the article reads: 'The territory's citizens must not give up demanding full democracy -- for their sake and for China's." That's good advice. This will be a growing issue for the PRC, not just in Hong Kong but in Tibet, Macau and Xinjiang -- let alone if they are serious about trying to coax Taiwan back into their fold. http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21615583-territorys-citizens-must-not-give-up-demanding-full-democracyfor-their-sake-and


September 15, 2014

Inspiring--  Joann Weiner's blog from the Washington Post gives a hopeful portrait of the face of the future of Rwanda 20 years after the genocide:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/09/12/ive-seen-the-future-of-rwanda-and-her-name-is-nadine/
Nadine Niyitegeka was just a toddler when Rwanda's genocide erupted, but she is now the face of Rwanda's future
WWW.WASHINGTONPOST.COM



September 16, 2014

Worth watching in Trinidad -- Tobago makes a move for self-rule. Hochoy Charles (leader of the Tobago wing of the Platform for Truth Party) begins to air Tobago's grievances more and more loudly. "Charles: We'll take our plight to the UN" with the sub-tag summary reading "If the Government of Trinidad and Tobago does not heed the cry of Tobagonians for self-government for their island their plight will be taken to the United Nations (UN), political leader of The Platform for Truth, Hochoy Charles, has warned," Trinidad Express: http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/Charles-Well-take-our-plight-to-the-UN-275373891.html?m=y&smobile=y


September 16, 2014

Germany's ZF takes over US' TRW Automotive. Reuters, Germany's ZF to take over TRW Automotive for $13.5 billion,



September 17, 2014

China and the Confucius Institutes -- the limits (or even backfiring) of soft power. A thought-provoking piece from The Economist "Soft Power: Confucius Says":
September 17, 2014
Fiji Election 
After 8 years of military rule, at last there've been free and fair elections in Fiji. Perhaps the troubles in paradise will now subside? "Fiji's Military Ruler Headed for Big Election Win," by Nick Perry and Pita Lagaiula, Associated Press: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/excitement-relief-landmark-fiji-election-25558459

September 18, 2014

India and Vietnam strengthen both trade and military ties as a counterbalance to China just days before Xi Jinping's state visit to India. That's a strong statement and something worth watching as things develop.India and Vietnam strengthen both trade and military ties as a counterbalance to China just days before Xi Jinping's state visit to India. That's a strong statement and something worth watching as things develop. "India tightens Vietnam defence, oil ties ahead of China's Xi Jinping's visit," Times of India: http://m.timesofindia.com/india/India-tightens-Vietnam-defence-oil-ties-ahead-of-Chinas-Xi-Jinpings-visit/articleshow/42600124.cms
 
September 18, 2014 

Political upset in Sweden as the nation's 8-year conservative run comes to an end. Important to keep an eye on this. Interestingly, the article posted on Facebook as "Sweden Opposition Ousts Government Without Gaining Majority" but was headlined on its actual link as "Election throws Sweden into Turmoil as Nationalists Advance," by Johan Carlstrom and Niklas Magnusson, Bloomberg: http://mobile.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-14/social-democratic-bloc-emerges-as-largest-in-swedish-election.html

September 19, 2014

Scotland votes to preserve the United Kingdom as the "No" to independence vote wins. I was up late watching the results come in live...

For the results with a breakdown by council, see "Final Results: Scottish Independence Referendum," Scotland Now:
http://www.scotlandnow.dailyrecord.co.uk/all-about/referendum

For coverage from The Scotsman, see "Scottish Independence: Scotland Votes No":
http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scottish-independence-scotland-votes-no-1-3546529

Better Together supporters celebrate in Glasgow. Picture: AgencyThis was a momentous moment for British democracy. Moreover, this was decisive but no blow-out. Westminster must now recognize that -- with astounding turn-out numbers of 84.6% of registered voters -- 45% of Scotland's voters voted to remain within the UK. It would be safe to assume that a significant proportion of the 55% "no" vote was the result of promises during the campaign from Westminister to allow greater tax autonomy and further devolution. How that now plays out will be the next step along this path.
That said, at least in economic terms for what this means for the markets, the strength of the pound and the continuing presence of the UK as a leading power in NATO, the UN Security Council and the like, I am pleased to see the union remain intact.

For more on the Scottish referendum results (with a useful map) see The Economist: https://www.facebook.com/TheEconomist/photos/a.10150279872209060.361054.6013004059/10152701974149060/?type=1&theater

 
 September 20. 2014

Mexico is among the world leaders for Free Trade Agreement having an FTA with 45 different nations. Will Kazakhstan be #46? "Mexico, Kazakhstan seek to link Eurasia with Latin America," Latino Fox News:
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2014/09/19/mexico-kazakhstan-seek-to-link-eurasia-with-latin-america/

September 21, 2014

The more I read about Marina, the more that I like what she has to say. "AP Interview: Brazil's Silva Wants Better US Ties," by Brad Brooks, ABC News:  http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/ap-interview-brazils-silva-us-ties-25577070

This post received several responses from Brazilian friends.
To short hand this, I am labeling these as

B1  A Brazilian professor of Portuguese working at a US university. 
B2: A second Brazilian friend (a former EMU student)
B3: A third Brazilian friend who is an executive living in São Paulo
B4: A fourth Brazilian friend who is a business professor in São Paulo
 B1:Interesting you say that, David. I take you've been following the whole electoral process in Brazil. Marina is one of the most controversial candidates Brazil has ever had. Her true affiliations and loyalties are still very much uncertain as she was caught totally by surprise in her current position (top two). She was PT for the longest time, then went under the Green banner, and now is affiliated with Beto Albuquerque, her running mate, a very pro agribusiness/GMO politician and Neca Setubal, heir to Brazil's largest private bank, Itaú. Not to mention allegations that she may threaten the secular nature of Brazil's estate. The questions abound.
As for the current government relations with the US, it is a peaceful one but without the old submissive, banana republic attitude of the past. Pres Dilma cancelled her official visit to the US because Brazil demanded an apology for having had it severity and privacy threatened by the NSA spying strategy on countries that could pose any kind of threat to US policies - economic or otherwise.I don't dislike Marina but anything she says until this race is over needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt!


ME: [B1's name],  I have indeed been following the election closely, especially since the tragic air accident of Eduardo Campos. I agree that much is uncertain regarding Marina... and I had only known her as the environmentalist who was named one of the "champions of the Earth" by the UN a few years back. I also knew that she was written up in the journal Foreign Policy as one of the leading "global thinkers" back in 2010. Beyond that, I have been trying to learn what I can. I personally support controlled agribusiness as well as GMO foods, so that doesn't bother me as it seems to bother you. In fact, I would have a hard time seeing Marina with her strong environmentalist's record as ending up a tool of agribusiness... and her very presence in this election has seeminglyled Brazil finally to crack down on the organized crime rings cutting down the Amazon (something about which I wrote back on August 28 when I posted the BBC article on this at http://m.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-28961554 ). I don't see her evangelical Protestantism to be a threat to Brazil's secular society either -- in fact, to elect a non-Catholic for the first time seems to me to prove that Brazil is indeed a secular country and not one in which only a Catholic can be elected to the Presidency. For me, Marina's Protestantism in Brazil is at least a bit comparable to the role that John Kennedy's Catholicsm played in the United States.... not an exact parallel, but not wholly off the mark for me either. As for the NSA's actions, I agree that the anger of Brazil (and Germany and many other nations) was justified and the Obama administration's actions here were shameful. That said, I still want to see closer US-Brazilian ties. Sooo... while I take all political campaigns with a "huge grain of salt", I am increasingly supportive of Marina, though I do so with my eyes open. Thanks for the comments... I really am quite interested in your views on this.

B2: At this point almost anyone would be better than Dilma - I cannot stand that woman!!!
 ME: [B2's name],   while I don't share your level of disdain for Dilma (for example, I like her Ciência sem Fronteiras initiative very much. That said, I am interested to hear more about what you dislike so strongly about her, and I do appreciate your comments on this.

B3: Tons and tons of however... Nobody knows what she is going to do if elected. There are clues pointing to just about every direction, what gives room to a lot of wishful thinking. But there is a consensus among the well informed that anything will be better than having more of the same for at least four years
David: Ciência sem Fronteiras is so disorganized that sends students who do not speak English to English-speaking countries and does not follow up on students performance. In fact they do not demand even a single report. Many people just take the scholarship money and go vacationing, with no consequences except for the lost opportunity. Dilma's party actions are exclusively motivated by votes.

ME:[B3's name], thank you for your input. I have to say that I agree that Marina is a VERY big unknown. As you point out, there are clues to just about every direction -- which DOES worry me. This was much the same in the first election vote for Barack Obama in the United States... different in substance, but the same sort of giving "room to a lot of wishful thinking" to use your phrase. As for Ciência sem Fronteiras, I am sure that you are right that there are many abuses. Still, anything that gets Brazilian university students out of Brazil in any significant numbers is in my view a positive improvement of the decades of Study Abroad neglect that preceded Ciência sem Fronteiras. Moreover, I have met a few students who seem to have benefited from participation in the program... so I would venture to say that there are positives to the initiative that might well balance out the negatives. I very much appreciate your insights here, though, my friend... please do keep doing so. 

B1: I'm sorry but I must disagree, [B3]. We work with many SSF students here at Illinois Urbana-Champaign and these students are made accountable for the classes they take and the results they get. Perhaps it is different at other institutions but I doubt we're the only ones with a positive experience. Recently the University of Southampton, UK, issued a report complaining about the lack of commitment of SSF students, so, yes, there are cases. As for the language, the program has recently added am English language tuition portion to help precisely those who do not speak the language fluent enough yet. I would not agree that the program is disorganized. There are problems, however, that need to be fixed like any new project of such mega scale        
      Another point, in my humble opinion, that I must disagree with about "a consensus among the well informed that anything will be better than having more of the same for at least four years." Me and a huge number in my circle are part of the "well informed" and we do not necessarily share this feeling that "anything"will be better. We must be careful when making such generalizations.

B4:  I agree with [B1] at least in one point: I have many students in Ciência sem Fronteiras program, and they take it seriously. The program is not disorganized as [B3] said. Of course there are some exceptions, as in many departments. Not everyone take the scholarship money to go vacationing. In fact, a minimal number do that (I´ve never heard it before). Maybe less than 0,2%… Furthermore there are special courses for students that do not speak the language fluent enough, before the beginning. (I prefer Dilma far from the government, and Marina is a mystery…).

B1:  I did not say I am pro or against agribusiness or GMOs at all. I was just highlighting a few controversial issues regarding Marina's candidacy. No one in Brazil can know for sure what will happen should she be elected - perhaps only Itaú knows... As Ana Lucia said, she's a mystery. It could be a good mystery or a bad mystery. We shall see.
I invite you to browse my FB page and see the several threads on the elections. There are very good comments from different friends and with different political views. All very well supported. The posts are in Portuguese but I know you can read Portuguese.

B3: Of course, it does not happen everywhere, but it is true that the students are not accountable, at least as the program is concerned. There is certainly a majority who seizes the opportunity, but the fact remains that there are scholarship holders that did not attend one single class.

B1: Does that make the program a disaster? Irrelevant? We need to look at what this opportunity represents to thousands of students - undergrads and grads - to go abroad to good universities where research is so strong and where studying is appreciated. I've had several of these students in my classes. It's beautiful to see how much they learn about the US and about their own culture. They become truly cross-culturally competent. And this is invaluable!


B3: Please read in its entirety.  


B1: Not only have I read this but also mentioned it in my post above. Please read.

B3: The lack of accountability does not make the program irrelevant, but it shows serious flaws in organization and management.

September 21, 2014

Catalonia's predictable rumblings for an independence referendum in the aftermath of Scotland's vote faces equally predictable opposition in Madrid.
"Catalonia Moves Closer to Clash With Spain Over Independence Vote: Madrid, Praising Scotland's 'No' Vote, Has Vowed to Block Catalan Referendum," by Matt Moffett, Wall Street Journal:
 http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/catalonia-moves-closer-to-clash-with-spain-over-independence-vote-1411152492?mobile=y

September 21, 2014

The logo of Germany's Rheinmetall AG is outside the company's headquarters in the western German city of Duesseldorf August 4, 2014. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay  Ever wonder about how national restrictions play out in a global economy? German arms firms threaten to relocate: "German Defense Industry Threatens To Move Production Abroad," Business Insider/Reuters.  
 http://www.businessinsider.com/r-german-defense-industry-threatens-to-move-production-abroad-2014-9 



September 21, 2014

Kenya remembers those list in the brutal and senseless Islamist attack at the Westgate Mall on its 1st anniversary. Somalia's al-Shabab murdered 67 unarmed men, women and children. Kenyans planted 67 trees in memory of those gunned down and held interfaith services praying for peace. "Kenya marks Westgate Mall Attack," BBC News - Africa.
http://m.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29299596

September 22, 2014

Indian MP Shashi Tharoor (shown at right) draws lessons from Scotland that are worth noting: "There is a very simple lesson of staying together and being together. I think that is really what India is all about... We have nations within India. but we all live together asone country and our nationalism transcends these sub-nationalisms. To my mind, that is one of the great strengths of India which is worth actively fighting for and preserving."  "India can learn from Scottish vote: Shashi Tharoor," Moneycontrol.com: http://m.moneycontrol.com/news/politics/india-can-learnscottish-vote-shashi-tharoor_1184387.html

September 22, 2014

Oktoberfest 2014 in pictures. A nice little photo collection from the UK's Telegraph Travel Section: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/germany/11113582/Oktoberfest-2014-kicks-off-in-pictures.html?frame=3046893



September 30, 2014

An insightful overview of some of the background issues behind the current demonstrations in Hong Kong. The graph here especially does much explains a lot in a glance. "The anger behind the Hong Kong uprising, in one chart," Vox: http://www.vox.com/2014/9/29/6865681/one-chart-that-explains-the-protests-in-hong-kong




 Tolerance, Intolerance and Prejudice

May 4, 2014

Just the latest article on the rising tide of intolerance in Indonesia:
"Embrace of Atheism Put an Indonesian in Prison," by Joe Cochrane, New York Times.



May 5, 2014

Anti-Muslim Bodo separatists leave 22 dead in Assam, just the latest in anti-Islamic incidents in India. So utterly senseless!
"Twenty-two Muslims killed in sectarian attacks in India's Assam," By Biswajyoti Das, Reuters



May 15, 2014

This sort of intolerance sickens me . "Christian in Sudan sentenced to death for faith; 'I'm just praying,' husband says." Article and video by Salma Abdelaziz, Catherine E. Shochet, Daniel Burke and Ed Payne on CNN:
"Christian in Sudan sentenced to death for faith; 'I'm just praying,' husband says." 


May 25, 2015

I hope that Pope Francis' visit will draw attention to the flight of Christians from Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.  
[Note: The tag read: "Pope calls for 'just solution' to Mideast conflict: At the start of his visit to the Holy Land, Francis also thanks Jordan for hosting Syrian refugees" but the actual article was entitled "Pope condemns arms sales to Syria, urges religious tolerance in visit to the Middle East," by William Booth and Taylor Luck, Washington Post.

I have no idea why FB changed the tag!]

August 3, 2014

Good to see this is being treated with dignity in the country whose main opposition party is the openly Fascist Jobbik Party and so much anti-Roma actions have gone on. A definitely hopeful sign and a reminder that most Hungarians do remember.  "Hungary Marks 70th Anniversary of Roma Holocaust," by Fiona Keating, Yahoo! News Singapore:


August 3, 2014

Major demonstration by Canadian Assyrian and Chaldean communities in Toronto protests ISIS "convert, pay or die" persecution of Christian community in Iraq.  CBC Online:


[Note: This link is now dead.]

This post received comments with links to two other interesting articles from a Professor at another university. The first comment was that she wrote that "There was a demonstration in Detroit on Saturday too" and I asked for more information. She responded:

Sure. It doesn't seem to have attracted much coverage in the Free Press or News, but I watched them go by my window at American Coney Island! They were accompanied by mounted police.


[She then gave the two following links, both two interesting pieces:]

"Detroit-area Chaldeans decry 'genocide' of Christians in Iraq, rally for aid," by Mike Stechschulte, The Michigan Catholic:


and then 
"Muslim American activists meet to organize rally for Iraqi Christians," in The Arab American News. 


[Note: I live in Metro Detroit and saw coverage on the Canadian demonstrations but not the ones here in Michigan. Perhaps I just wasn't looking hard enough, but it struck me as noteworthy.]

August 4, 2014

Wonderful video. Thanks to [name of friend in England] for sharing it with me so I can now share it with you.



[Note: This 2:15-long video clip undercuts black-white, young-old, devout-nonpracticing stereotypes in  England].

August 4, 2015

[Reposted without comment a link from a friend. Note, this is her field as a motivational speaker.]:





August 6, 2014

Gender policing and rape in India. This is 8:08 minutes worth watching. From "Rape Is Not Always About Sex. This Video Will Change The Way You Look At Rapes Forever," Storypick.com



August 9, 2014

Women's self-image and "sorry": my daughter shared this with me. It is all the more remarkable in that this is the result of an ad campaign. Please watch and pass it on. Insightful to say the least. "Not Sorry/Pantene Commercial Werbung: Not Sorry / Pantene Commercial Werbung shine strong. Sorry, NOT SORRY for asking you to watch this video. After all, why are women always apologizing? Sure, it's polite to say 'sorry' sometimes. But for everything, no WAY!"




August 10, 2014

Hmmm... Maybe it's a British thing but this wouldn't do on this side of the Atlantic. In short, this is not much of an apology. The show's producers might have been better off holding their ground that they didn't care about using racist slurs than to apologize like that.  "BBC's 'Top Gear' Issues Racist Apology for Racist Slur," by Adam Chandler, Yahoo News: 



August 15, 2015 

Rethinking homelessness is important for all of us. "There but for the grace of God" is something so many of us can still say... but not enough. [Note: This eye-opening video lasts 1:24]



August 17, 2014 

Phyllis Trible is Professor Emerita at Union Theological Seminary (Liberal Christianity's premier
institute) and is one of (if not THE) most important voices in the intersection of Faith and Feminism (which by the way is the title of her upcoming new book co-authored with B. Diane Lipsett which I am looking forward to reading this Fall when it comes out). She is past president of the Society of Biblical Literature (only the 2nd woman to have held that position since its founding in 1880). All of this is to say that what Phyllis Trible has to say about belief in the Judeo-Christian tradition and feminism always merits my attention. Her essay in this month's Biblical Archaeology Review is one of the best short pieces I can recall. She gives no ground, as she puts it, to "the cursing from either Bible-thumpers or Bible-bashers" -- and likens her approach to the conflict as akin to the story of Jacob wrestling with the angle at Jabbok (Genesis 32). If you, like me, struggle with the sexism of the Bible as against its continued relevance as a blueprint for one's life, you should read this. 


August 18, 2014 

Metro Detroit has the largest Arab community in the USA. A great many of these came to avoid religious persecution so that we also have the largest Arab-American Chaldean community (the main Christian community in Iraq who date back to just after the life of Jesus). This article in the Detroit Free Press expresses their growing concern for the survival in their traditional homeland of one of the oldest Christian communities. "Local Iraqi Americans fear for Christians under brutal attack in Iraq," by Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press: 


August 25, 2014

How is wearing hijab on the beach even remotely "an attack on French culture"? What is happening in France regarding religious intolerance is deeply disturbing to me! "Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP's fury," by Tony Todd, France 24:


August 25, 2014 

Ein interessanter Blick auf den Roma und Sinti Leute in Deutschland 70 Jahre nach Versuch von Hitler an Völkermord.  [Note: This piece, in German, is about the Roma and Sinti  in Germany 70 years after Hitler's attempt to exterminate them in the Holocaust].  "Emils Ring: Sein Wort ist Gesetz," Zeit

September 6, 2014

Thanks to [former student] for sharing this so that I in turn can share it with you. José to Joe. What a statement.  "He Dropped One Letter In His Name While Applying for Jobs And The Responses Rolled In," by Cate Matthews, Latino Voices via Huffington Post. 

September 5, 2014

Officials object to "Shariah police" in Germany: "Salafist Muslim Group Forms 'Sharia Police' Patrol in Germany" NBCNews.com

September 21, 2014

Dean Obeidallah says Oklahoma Rep. John Bennett, seen at a 2013 press conference, has unfairly attacked the loyalty of Muslim Americans.Dean Obeidallah (The Daily Beast political columnist and blogger) has penned an important op-ed piece on CNN pointing out the Islamophobic (as well as anti-LGBT and anti-black) actions of Oklahoma's Congressman John Bennett (seen in photo at right). Bennett has openly promoted hatred against American Muslims and even (if more indirectly) suggested the use of violence against them. When demands were made to apologize by a coalition of Jewish, Christian and Muslim groups, Bennett refused and made more such calls at a public gathering where his bigotry was welcomed by the applause of his followers. Bennett is running in opposed in his district. Let's hope someone now chooses to challenge him. It is shameful that such a man serves in the US Congress. "Anti-Muslim American bias reaches a new low" http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/19/opinion/obeidallah-anti-muslim-bias/?c=&page=1


September 27, 2014
Fox should fire this sexist reporter. This is wholly unacceptable and disrespects the women (and men!) of not only the UAE Air Force but that of the USAF in his own country. How does any US broadcaster possibly consider this even close to acceptable? I feel nothing but contempt for him. "US Veterans Send Fox News An Open Letter About 'Boobs On The Ground' Joke" by Amanda Macias,  Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/us-veterans-send-fox-news-open-letter-about-boobs-on-the-ground-joke-2014-9

 
September 30, 2014
 
In Australia, an Islamaphobe beat a Muslim woman and threw her from a moving outside of Melbourne. Horrifying! "Woman's head is battered against train carriage by female attacker who shouted racist abuse,"  by Lillian Raduloa, Daily Mail Australia:  






Anti-Semitism Eruption
(Note: Since the Jew-Hatred was -- however wrongly so -- linked to the Gaza Crisis, I have included articles and comments on that subject here as well)



May 25, 2014
Senseless! And this from a European nation with "only" 27% of the population registering as anti-Semitic for a majority of their responses in this month's ADL Survey (compared to, for instance, 37% in France and 69% in Greece. Unless the Europeans take a zero-tolerance stance on this sort of thing, I fear it will only continue to grow. "Three dead in shooting a Jewish Museum of Belgium, Minister says," from CNN World: 
http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/24/world/europe/belgium-jewish-museum-shooting/index.html?sr=sharebar_facebook

Note: This post received considerable comment. One from a Belgian colleague spurred this discussion:

Belgian Friend: Dear David, what do you mean by "from a nation" etc etc. Turns out the alleged culprit is a French national, and has this something to do with the abomination of shooting people because they are *thought* to belong to a "different" or "other" group?

Me: You are quite right on all counts. First, the killer wasn't Belgian and I assumed without cause otherwise, which is unacceptable. Second, I was unfairly assigning blame from the ADL report which showed 1/4 of Belgians as expressing a majority of responses as anti-Jewish -- my concern was that this percentage put Belgium in a favorable light (when compared to the much higher percentage in such countries as France and Greece) but that for me "only" quarter of the population as holding strongly anti-Jewish views should not be seen as a good percentage at all: even if such a number was relatively low, it is not low enough. That, however, really is a separate matter and it was confusing at best to put that here. 
All of this to say that I'm glad you commented as you did. I allowed my outage to color my commentary

Belgian Friend:  David, No offense taken except that I think nationality is of little significance in these cases. We are universally horrified...

June 30, 2014

Murdering children for political ends is stomach-turning. My heart goes out to the parents and my prayers to the three boys that were murdered.
"Missing Israeli teens found dead in West Bank," by Ben Wedeman and Dana Ford, CNN.

Note: The comments posted on this site were interesting for their tone. Keep in mind that this incident occurred before the Gaza Crisis broke out. 
US-born professor wrote: Yes. And my heart also goes out to all the (more) Palestinian children who have been murdered by the Israelis. Awful stuff.
Turkish-born professor wrote: Another senseless act due to war. So so sad. I wish children were safe everywhere but some of them (in many regions of the world) live (and die) in the ugly realities of war.
To me, the first comment seems somehow to justify the unjustifiable act (when by the way, the "Palestinian children who have been murdered" had not occurred (yet... sadly, that would follow).  I felt much more aligned with sentiments in the second comment: "I wish children were safe everywhere [from] ...the ugly realities of war."


July 28, 2014

Whatever your view on Israel or Gaza, hatred based on worship can not be sanctioned. The wave of
anti-Jewish activity across France, Germany and Italy can no longer be dismissed as "anti-Israel" by even the most biased apologist for the Hamas side of the Gaza crisis. An imam in Essen has called on his congregation to "kill Jews" (not protest Israel). Protesters in Berlin are chanting "JEWS TO THE GAS CHAMBERS!" (Hmm...I am not sure if that would be all right even if it were "Zionists to the gas chambers!"). In France synagogues were attacked full of Jewish worshipers (not Israelis, but fellow French citizens at prayer). There are dozens of other incidents of people in yarmulkes being attacked, Jewish shops being defaced and windows broken and more. Europe has not seen this level of anti-Jewish feeling since the 1930's, I call on my friends -- Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever to please bring attention to this issue. What is happening in Gaza and Israel is admittedly a tragedy... but this is and must be separate from anti-Jewish attacks and vitriol.Here is one article in English from the UK's Daily Mail. I will post more, but I urge you to bring attention to this matter by bringing this issue out in the open.
"It's like 1938, says Israeli ambassador to Germany: Outbreaks of anti-Semitism on rise across Europe," by Allan Hall and Vanessa Allen, Daily Mail Online:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2701365/Anti-Semitic-attacks-rise-Europe-German-French-Italian-foreign-ministers-condemn-growing-hostility-against-Jews-wake-Gaza-conflict.html#ixzz38E1LMz82

Note: There was quite a bit of discussion on this.  One professor at another US university wrote:
"David, I'd be very interested to know your thoughts about this piece" and then gave the link to an op-ed piece entitled "The country that wouldn't grow up."

http://www.haaretz.com/mobile/the-country-that-wouldn-t-grow-up-1.186721?v=9328D951C29F2365084636962340486B 

The article appeared in Israel's Haaretz by Tony Judt, the Director of NYU's Remarque Institute (which specializes in European Affairs -- worth looking up if you are at all interested in new work form emerging scholars). Dr. Judt is perhaps best-known for his book Postwar: The History of Europe Since 1945 (2005). It was an interesting piece. This was my response and the back-and-forth discussion after that:

Me: this is an interesting article, and, generally speaking, I personally agree with much in the article. That said, to my mind at least, the points raised in this article have no relevance at all as far as I can see to the attacks on Jews in Europe, though, and the two should be kept separate. This would be like saying that the attacks on Christians going on right now in Iraq (and in the Central African Republic, in Mali, in Nigeria, and -- for that matter -- in the West Bank) are justified because those targeting Christians do not like the policies of predominantly the predominantly Christian US (or France in the case of the CAR or Mali, or the UK in the case of Nigeria). These are what they are -- targeted attacks based hatred of people wholly innocent of responsibility for the attack. These get less notice, perhaps, because they are taking place outside of Europe, but hatred based on religion (or race or ethnicity or sex. There is, to my mind, Ann, no connection whatsoever between attacks on Jews or Christians (or Muslims by Buddhists in Burma for that matter) any nation's foreign policy. That said, though I question the rationale of including this op-ed piece in a post on race-hatred, I do think that the piece you link to here raises important issues. It is not, sadly, so black-and-white as the article suggests... but both sides are culpable. I would like to comment at length on the Gaza-Israel crisis and its deeper roots in a blog post. Could I use your request for my thoughts as the starting point for that post?

1st Professor Friend: Sure! I should have been more specific in my question, David. There is a part in the article that focuses on the tautology surrounding Israel: the State itself conflates Israel and Judaism by accusing its critics of being anti-Jewish. ("In many parts of the world this is in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling assertion: Israel's reckless behavior and insistent identification of all criticism with anti-Semitism is now the leading source of anti-Jewish sentiment in Western Europe and much of Asia.") I thought that was pertinent to the posts you have shared (thank you for sharing) and points you have raised about the very dangerous hate-speech and protests going on today. I certainly agree with you that we must condemn that.

Me: Thanks for clarifying, [friend's name].  I am actually of two minds on this tautology. It seems to me at least to be clear that for those leading the attacks in Paris, Rome, Antwerp, Brussels, Berlin and Essen that I posted about (and those are just a few) that this is less a tautology than a reality. Sadly, to me it doesn't matter if this was a "self-fulfilling assertion" or not -- in these particular cases, there is a reality of the conflation of anti-Israel sentiment with what we call in German Judenhass (I prefer the directness of the German term -- Jew hate -- to the polite distancing of the English anti-Semitism in such cases). I am not an apologist for the Netanyahu government or many of its actions, but I do believe --unlike Hamas -- that Israel has a right to exist. It is hard to negotiate for a two-state solution (my own view of what has to happen) when one party denies the right of the other to exist. Golda Meir once said, "We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.” Decades later, I think this still holds. It is the hate that is getting in the way, and that hate is very deeply rooted and grows deeper with each innocent child who is killed... on either side.

What followed next were worth recording here perhaps too.

Friend of Professor Friend: Yet, if the Jews were to organize a rally and go around shouting Mohammed Sucks, there would be rioting and looting in the streets of every metropolis and berg in Europe.

2nd Professor Friend (and a 3rd US university): David, thank you for continuing to share this news. There are far too many apologists for anti-Semitism. I would like to add one thing though, that the article does not mention (but should) - the strongest anti-Semitic rhetoric is coming from Muslims. I don't say this as a means of condemning Islam, but rather so that we can address WHO is saying WHAT and WHY. It is only by addressing this fact can we possibly unravel the ultimate cause of the hatred and perhaps mitigate it.

Me: [Name], First thanks for bringing people's attention to this by sharing. What you've said about Muslim protesters may be true about anti-Jewish rhetoric (and violent attacks) in France and Italy. The anti-Jewish protesters in Germany and Flanders though are a mixed group with many Christian Germans and Flemings comprising a significant percentage (though still a minority). In Hungary and Greece by contrast, the anti-Jewish actions are largely non-Muslims. Also, it is important to keep mind -- especially in France-- that many Muslims have condemned the racism. The protesters who have trapped Jews in their synagogues two Saturdays in a row number only a few thousand people and no more than 500 at any one synagogue out of a population of over 2 million French Muslims. In other words, I worry about lumping all European Muslims together with the hate-filled minority just as I worry that we may be overlooking the non-Muslim Jew-hatred of many others. 
That said, thank you for speaking out. The more of us who do so, the more likely others will see this for what it is: pure anti-Semitism rather than pro-Gaza solidarity.

2nd Professor Friend: Good points, David. You obviously are better informed on this than myself. Have you observed any other underlying themes to this anti-Jewish rhetoric? For example, I've heard (although admittedly I haven't dug real far) that in the past, much of the hatred of Jews closely correlated with hatred of capitalism and banking. I wonder if it's similar today, or started as such and now morphed into something different, or if I'm just really off base.

Me: Hi John. Your comment is not off base at all, and some groups (notably Greece's Golden Dawn Party and Hungary's Jobbik Party do indeed fall into this overtly (along with a xenophobia tied to anti-immigration and fear of globalization). It's more complicated than that in my opinion though. I plan to write a blog post soon. May I quote you and your question in it?


July 28, 2014

More on what is happening in the attacks on Jews in Europe. "France slams 'anti-Semitic' violence at pro-Palestinian rally," France 24
http://www.france24.com/en/20140721-france-paris-anti-semitic-violence-pro-palestinian-gaza/#./?&_suid=140657635429009278439068096931


July 28, 2014

Anti-Jewish outbursts in the UK. Please note these are attacks on Jews as Jews, not anti-Israel protests. Article in The Independent (UK): "Israel-Gaza conflict: Rise of anti-Semitic attacks in UK as crisis rages in the Middle East."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/israelgaza-conflict-rise-of-antisemitic-attacks-in-uk-as-crisis-rages-in-the-middle-east-9631174.html

July 28, 2014

 Jews (NOT Zionists) banned from restaurant in   Belgium. By the way, I don't think banning anyone based on politics is legal in Belgium either. "Belgian cafe posts sign banning Jews from entering store: The sign in Turkish and French suggested that 'dogs are allowed' but 'Jews not under any circumstances.' The Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism reported the sign to police and is demanding a criminal investigation." 

Article by Carol Kuruvilla, New York Daily News.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/belgian-cafe-posts-sign-banning-jews-entering-store-article-1.1879839

July 28, 2013

Deutsche Welle's take on the anti-Jewish vs. anti-Israel issue. "Criticism of Israel or anti-Semitism? It's certainly not a new debate, but the controversial topic has picked up steam again -- especially in Germany: Where does political criticism of Israel end, and where does anti-Semitism begin?"
http://www.dw.de/criticism-of-israel-or-anti-semitism/a-17807132

July 28, 2014

In Italy, Rome's ancient Jewish Quarter is covered in swastikas and anti-Jewish (not anti-Israel) graffiti.
Sample shown in the photo here: " "Each Palestinian is a camerata [the Italian word for members of Mussolini's fascist movement] Same enemy, same barricade". "Gaza Crisis: Rome's Historic Jewish Quarter Daubed with Swastikas and Anti-Semitic Posters," by Gianluca Mezzofiore, International Business Times.
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/gaza-crisis-romes-historic-jewish-quarter-daubed-swastikas-anti-semitic-posters-1458682

July 28, 2014

"Kill the Jews!" That is the chant used in Antwerp at a pro-Gaza rally. It is hared to see this as a political statement as much as a race-hatred. The illusion of anti-Jewish hatred as justified by anti-Israel feelings is difficult to maintain when the protesters are chanting something like that. Please help bring attention to this. Whatever your feelings on the Gaza-Israel crisis, this hatred can't be allowed to go unchecked.
"Antwerp rally chants 'kill the Jews,' I24 News:
http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/europe/37389-140716-antwerp-rally-chants-kill-the-jews

July 28, 2014

And here is the Voice of America piece condemning the demonstrations in France where eight synagogues were attacked and many Jewish-owned shops were set upon amid cries of "death to the Jews, not death to Israel." This is my last post on this. For those of you reading the press in French, German and Italian, there are many, many more (as well as in English). Please post some of these links and bring awareness that whatever your position on the Gaza-Israel crisis, such anti-Jewish attacks must be seen independent of them and can not be tolerated. Thank you."France Denounces Anti-Semitism, Braces for More Gaza Protests, by Lisa Bryant, Voice of America

Signe Wilkinson's take on the Israel-Palestine crisis.


July 30, 2014

From Newsweek's cover story "Exodus: Why Europe's Jews Are Fleeing Once Again": "As Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, argues: “These people were not attacked because they were showing their support for the Israeli government. They were attacked because they were Jews, going about their daily business.” Article by Adam LeBor.




July 31, 2014
The take on the anti-Jewish attacks from Melbourne's Herald Sun: :"Do not mistake this anti-Semitism for mere anger at Israel over the war in Gaza. That war is just the calculated pretext for a month of menace that has terrified many Jews." [The article was by Andrew Bolt].

A note on Australian journalism: Many legitimate newspapers in Australia use rhetoric that would be considered overly strong in a US, Canadian or British paper. The papers there across the political spectrum use language elsewhere in the English-speaking world that would be reserved for extremist news sources (e.g., in this article "a putrid Jew-hatred has returned"). I find this to be amusing but this can easily be misread by those elsewhere. This is a cultural difference of Australia. Be aware that the Melbourne Herald Sun is Australia's highest-circulating daily newspaper.

Note: The above was posted. This too received some commentary worth note, particularly one was rather disturbing.

Person X: (Friend of a friend , whom I never met before this): Sooooooo......very tired of this neverending saga. These people are brothers who insist on killing each other. They have done it since time started. They will never stop until one side is completely wasted. Such a waste.

Me: Attacking Jews in Europe has nothing at all to do with the Gaza-Israel fight. This is NOT the same as "brothers who insist on killing each other." This is people burning a synagogue in Germany, trapping Jews in synagogues until the police arrived in 8 synagogues in Paris, having a restaurant in Belgium post a sign that says "dogs are allowed but Jews are forbidden here," and having anti-Jewish (not anti-Israel) slogans scrawled into the ancient Great Synagogue and Jewish Cemetery of Rome that has stood across the Tiber from where the Vatican now is since long before there was a Vatican (or for that matter before Jesus himself). This is not a bickering between fighting parties. This is an attack on Jews in Europe. Are you really okay with that, [Person X]?

Person X: Eh..I guess I am like the rest of the world.

Anglo-American friend (from London): I'm not ok with it. I'm horrified by the Israeli government's actions towards Gaza. But Israel is not synonymous with Jews, and the Jewish diaspora may have little influence on Israel. Regardless: there's no excuse for hating people because of their religion. 

I will not defend the Israeli government's actions, but I will certainly defend Jews.

August 1, 2014

[Without comment, I shared Unify's photo.] 


August 5, 2014

Sweden's Social Democrat candidate for town council of Fiipstad quits after a Facebook post denounced "Jewish pigs." The politician said that he regretted what he said as the "wrong choice of words and no one should say something like that" and the he "never meant to judge people who are Jews, Christian or anything else" with his comment. Still, I find it hard to understand that someone could think that the phrase "Jewish pigs" would be non-judgmental. I find that there was pushback on this to be encouraging though, especially in Sweden which is highly tolerant of anti-Jewish behavior and (recently) attacks. "Politician quits after 'Jewish pigs' slur online," The Local - Sweden:

http://www.thelocal.se/20140805/palestinians-are-slaughtered-by-jewish-pigs

August 5, 2014

I just posted an article on how a Swedish politician stepped down after pushback regarding a FB post with the term "Jewish pigs." I said that I was encouraged that there was a reaction to this, and I want to put this in context. Just four days ago, Swedish authorities ruled that there was "no hate crime" after a Mälmo man who had an Israeli flag displayed in his house window had his windows smashed and then was beaten by a group of men with iron pipes. THAT seems more typical of Swedish response to Jew-hatred than the resignation today.SECOND, it is noteworthy that there was actually an outcry in Sweden about this considering that just 4 days ago, Sweden's government determined that a gang of people beating a man with iron pipes for displaying an Israeli flag was "no hate crime". That seemed to me more typical of what has been going on in Sweden. During the recent Gaza Crisis, dozens of small incidents have taken place though none as violent as the pipe-beating. While Jews have received threats and buildings -- including Mälmo's synagogue -- were vandalized, most have been non-violent. In fact the the only other (reported) violent attack was that on Mälmo's rabbi and member of his congregation was physically attacked by several men shouting "F---ing Jews." Claims that such behavior is "anti-Israel, not anti-Jewish" do not hold up well under such circumstances. In Sweden's case, this is not new. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has had a travel warning for Jews going to Mälmo since 2010 following the bombing of the Jewish Center there and the then-mayor Ilmar Reepalu's anti-Semitic diatribes during his last years in office.  "Assault with iron pipe 'no hate crime': police," The Local - Sweden.

[This post received considerable comment, some of which I post here.]

UK friend: On reading the article, I discovered that the victim himself doesn't think the abuse was related to the flag, but was more about his activism against the Iranian regime. It sounds like a terrifying beating, nonetheless, and I hope he physically and mentally recovers soon.

Having said that: yes, I think there is a rise in anti-semitism. Which is sickening. I am no fan of the current Israeli government, and am appalled by their actions in Gaza. But that is no reason to hate all Israelis, all Jews, or all anybody else. Most of the Jews I know are kind and loving people, who want no part of the violence.

If you're against the violence and hatred being visited on Gaza, that's cool. But don't turn into a hateful or violent person yourself.

Me: Well put, [friend's name]. The man involved is a Kurd who supports Israel. The attack itself was prompted by the Israeli flag, I agree. I still have a hard time seeing this as something less than a hate crime. It is true that in some states (Tennessee rather famously), it is not considered a hate crime if you are only targeting political affiliation. I am in the camp that considers targeting individuals on the bases of political affiliation a hate crime (in targeted group, for that matter, as with LGBT people, which is a state by state issue in the US just as political affiliation is). That said, for you EU Members, hate crimes targeted against political affiliation is banned under Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. That means that this should have been covered in Sweden even though Swedish law does not specify this... but that is just my thinking on this. 

I may be unfair here though... I have to admit that I may be a bit biased against Sweden since the rise in attacks there, especially in Malmo, and then reading the Irish journalist Patrick Reilly's experiment wearing a kipah that he wrote up in Sweden's The Local. "Fear and giggles: A day as a Jew in Malmo."


UK friend: Serious question: in general, what's the purpose in differentiating between "crime" and "hate crime"? I think I'm missing something. 

US-based professor friend: a rose is a rose is a rose. hate crime is hate crime is hate crime.

UK friend: I still don't understand. I understand that some crimes are motivated by hatred for the victim's perceived group (as opposed to motivated by getting drug money, or revenge on a specific individual). I can even see that there could be "love crimes", e.g., euthanasia. But I don't understand what purpose is to be achieved by differentiating between hate crime and plain ol' crime. (I'm not against the term "hate crime". Just genuinely don't understand.)

August 5, 2014


Kudos to Italy's Defense Secretary Angelino Alfano for expelling Moroccan imam Sheikh Abd Al-Barr al-Rawdhi for "incitement to violence and religious hatred." Italy's Anti-Terrorism Center determined that a clear "anti-Semitic tone" was evident in last Friday's sermon. The following quotation in particular was cited as incitement against Jews (again not against Israel, even if that were somehow acceptable): "Count them one by one and kill them to the very last one. Do not spare a single one of them. Turn their food to poison, make the air they breathe blazing hot, make their slumber full of grief and make their days black. Plant fear in their hearts." Please share this post with others to let Italy know that -- whatever your view on the Gaza-Israel conflict -- you support their efforts to curb overt Jew-hatred. "'Kill Jews to the Very Last One': Italian Imam Expelled After Anti-Semitic Sermon," by Gianluco Mezzofiore, International Business Times.

August 7, 2014 

More attacks on Jews, this time in Australia against schoolchildren. So sad. "Bondi racist bus attack: Jewish schools on alert after eight males threaten to cut schoolchildren's throats, five teenagers arrested,"  by Ben McClellan, Ian Walker and Bruce McDougall, Daily Telegraph:



August 8, 2014 

For my non-German speaking friends, this says that the Chief spokesman for Germany's Jewish community tells Der Spiegel that this is the worst outbreak of anti-Semitism since the Nazi era. Und für meine Freunde die sprechen wirklich Deutsche, was denken Sie daran? "Klage de Zentralrat-Chefs der Juden: "Forum: Es ist die schlimmste Zeit der Nazi-Ära," Der Spiegel: 


August 8, 2014

[Reposted without comment: "The Guardian [UK] view on Gaza and the rise of antisemitism: Editorial"]:

September 6, 2014

Merkel Vows to Fight Anti-Semitism. "Germany's Merkel Vows to Fight Anti-Semitism: Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday she would do everything she could to fight anti-Semitism in Germany, amid reports of attacks and a spike in anti-Israel sentiment since the Gaza Conflict," Voice of America: http://m.voanews.com/a/reu-merkel-vows-to-fight-anti-semitism-in-germany/2440950.html


September 7, 2014

Germany is right to react against self-appointed "Shariah police." These few zealots harm the face of Islam throughout Germany. This sort of thing causes a great deal of misunderstanding. "Germany won't tolerate 'Sharia police': The German government has strongly criticized nightly patrols in the city of Wuppertal by men calling themselves 'Sharia police.'" Deutsche Welle: http://www.dw.de/germany-wont-tolerate-sharia-police/a-17906086

September 16, 2014

Insightful New York Times op-ed on the "new German" anti-Semitism by Jochem Bittner (shown at right here), the political editor for Germany's Die Zeit.  "What’s Behind Germany’s New Anti-Semitism?"
 http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/09/17/opinion/jochen-bittner-whats-behind-germanys-new-anti-semitism.html?referrer 
September 17, 2014

Germany's mass rally AGAINST the wave if anti-Semitism that swept the country. This is encouraging to see. "Rally Against Anti-Semitism: “Jewish Life Belongs in Germany” German Missions in the United States homepage.

Rally against anti-Semitism

LBGTQ Rights
May 1, 2014

All power to those attempting to overthrow Michigan's shameful anti gay laws. 
"Execs want Michigan anti-bias laws for gays," Detroit Free Press. 
Note: The link is now dead. The newsfeed, though, reads "Some of Michigan's top business leaders are launching a campaign to expand the state's workforce discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity."
http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140501/POLITICS02/305010046/1022/rss10

May 22, 2014

Well said! Posted from "Freedom to Marry" website.
"Mayor Hippen is our 400th Mayor for the Freedom to Marry - and our first mayor from North Dakota! Share this to thank her for speaking out, and read more:
http://bit.ly/RXmsKb"


May 24, 2014
Thanks to (former student's name) for sharing this so that I can pass it along to you. Good for Sterling Heights!

"Ordinance proposed in Sterling Heights would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation,"by FOX Detroit Newshttp://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/25594716/ordinance-proposed-in-sterling-heights-would-ban-discrimination-based-on-sexual-orientation


July 28, 2014





August 7, 2014

[Posted with no comment from "Florida Gay Marriage Ban Declared Unconstitutional In Fourth Ruling, Reuters via Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/05/florida-gay-marriage_n_5652849.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013



August 9

How distressing. "India moves to officially ban same-sex couples from adopting children: Proposed legislative change is the latest move in the country's clamp down on LGBTI rights," by David Hudson, GayStar News:



August 26, 2014 

On August 1, Uganda's Constitutional Court ruled that the nation's notoriously harsh Anti-Homosexuality Act was "null and void." The attorney responsible for winning this ruling is Nicholas Opiyo. Vox.com recently had an interview with this remarkable man, and here it is: "Meet the attorney who got Uganda's anti-gay law overturned," by Brandon Ambrosino, Vox.com




Miscellaneous Subjects

May 1, 2014

I finished reading Dava Sobel's The Planets today. Fun read!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0142001163/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1398995764&sr=1-1&pi=SY200_QL40



May 8, 2014

Just finished reading Parker Palmer's insightful book Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.

So much wisdom in this wonderfully written book by one of America's greatest living thinkers on education and spirituality.

http://www.amazon.com/Let-Your-Life-Speak-Listening/dp/0787947350




May 15, 2014

Interesting map. Thanks to (friend's name) for sharing this so that I can now share it with you.





http://mentalfloss.com/article/56714/most-commonly-spoken-language-each-state-besides-english-and-spanish


Note: This post -- a map from the fun little site "Mental Floss" received 11 shares, generated 10 comments and nine "likes" -- that's always fun to see.




May 18
Just finished reading The History of Cod -- thanks to [my daughter] who told me to do so! Fascinating reading!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0140275010/ref=redir_mdp_mobile/180-1550349-2098122

Note: The author's name is Mark Kurlansky.

June 22, 2014

Thank you to (PhD student's name) for sharing with me so that I can now share it with you. Fun map, isn't it?

The Largest Company by Revenue in Each State

From Mental Floss website.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/57388/largest-company-revenue-each-state


June 25, 2014
[Posted with no comment, although the tag phrase read: "Happy 60th birthday to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor! The first Latina and the woman to serve as a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, Sotomayor was born in 1954 to Puerto Rican immigrants living in the Bronx in New York City." -- The full posting was on A Mighty Girl's FB page at https://www.facebook.com/amightygirl/photos/a.360833590619627.72897.316489315054055/698663176836665/?type=1&theater


June 29, 2014

Costa Rica! Wow! I love when the underdog wins. "World Cup 2014: Costa Rica Defeats Greece on Penalty Kicks, 1-1," by Jeffrey Marcus, New York Times. 


http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/29/sports/worldcup/world-cup-costa-rica-vs-greece.html?_r=1

July 27, 2014 
[Reposted with no comment from Vintage and Anchor Books post  
https://www.facebook.com/vintageanchor/photos/a.259991295295.300314.69761195295/10154390695845296/?type=1&theater ]





August 10, 2014

Thanks to (friend's name) for sharing this with me so that I can share it with you. 
Post from "Women Rock Chicago"




July 28, 2014



Want some good news? This is so promising! Korean researchers have discovered what may be a cure for dementia, not just a means to slow it. "Korean Scientists Find Dementia Cure from Tobacco Leaves," article from KBS World Radio.

http://world.kbs.co.kr/english/news/news_Sc_detail.htm?No=104271&id=Sc


August 3, 2014


I saw A Most Wanted Man with my wife. As with all John Le Carre works, the storyline is wholly believable with the frustrationof conflicting bureaucracies and betrayal. The US does not come off looking very good... and I left the theater feeling upset and suspecting that the movie rung very true indeed of US intelligence activities relationship with our European allies over the last 14 or so years. Phllip Seymour Hoffman was outstanding... what a loss to us all now that he is gone. The acting was superb by nearly everyone though. Willem Defoe was able to transform what could easily be a cardboard cutout character into a complex figure. Grigoriy Dobrygin (whom I had never heard of before) was absolutely convincing as a confused and extremely complex character in Issa. And Robin Wright was -- as always -- excellent (I only wish she'd had a larger part to play). http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1972571/

August 4, 2014

Scary stuff happening just over the Ohio border, "Toledo Water Clears, but Outlook Is Cloudy: Restrictions Are Lifted After Two Days, But Algae Blamed for Ban Could Worsen," by Matthew Dolan, Wall Street Journal.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/toledo-mayor-orders-more-drinking-water-tests-1407141074

August 4, 2014

Apparently a genetic link may exist between tameness and cuteness in dogs. "How the Labrador got its spots," The Economist

http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2014/08/domesticated-animals?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/howthelabrador


August 6, 2014

[Shared without comment] "Delta in-flight mag salutes Detroit, by Ziati Miller, Detroit Free Press:

http://www.freep.com/article/20140804/BUSINESS06/308040142/delta-airlines-detroit-sky-travel-magazine


August 7, 2014

And what about in between coasts (or for those of us on the Great Lakes, the Third Coast)? https://www.facebook.com/theoatmeal/photos/a.10150413121115078.628758.220779885077/10154498421980078/?type=1&theater


August 8, 2014

What a find! "In Photos: Ancient King's Mausoleum Discovered in China: Archaeologists in China have discovered a mausoleum dating back over 2,100 years..."by Owen Jarus, Live Science:

http://m.livescience.com/47172-china-mausoleum-discovered-photos.html

August 8, 2014  

An actual miracle! A lake has appeared in the Tunisian desert and scientists can't explain how. You don't see that every day!  "Lake materializes in Tunisian desert," Deutsche Welle: 

http://www.dw.de/lake-materializes-in-tunisian-desert/a-17834951



August 13, 2014

The world is so full of things to discover. To think that this flower was never recorded before! 

"New species of passion flower discovered in Osa Peninsula, by Lindsay Fendt, Tico Times: 



August 14, 2014
Researchers found what will likely be a cure for jet lag. Now there's something that'll come in handy. "We may be one step closer to a cure for jet lag," by Roya Wolverson, Quartz.com:



August 23, 2014

5100 BC awl is oldest metal object ever found in Middle East discovered in woman's grave in Israel. This places long-distance trade in the Middle East back centuries earlier than historians had previously estimated. What a find! "Oldest metal object in Middle East discovered in woman's grave," by Charles Q. Choi,  Fox News:



August 28, 2014

A see-through frog? Scientists in Peru discover a new species of frog whose underside is transparent so

that you can see its heart beating and much more. When I was a boy, I assembled a clear plastic model called the "visible man" that allowed you to see inside the figure to learn anatomy. This takes it one step further -- the visible frog. The scientists have aptly named it the "glass frog"-- apparently there are three other "glass frogs" known (news to me) but this one is the only frog that is also brightly colored with (visible) green bones and bright yellow spots on its back. I find these things wondrous and wonderful myself. I hope that you do too. "See-Through Frogs With Green Bones Discovered in Peru," by James Owens, National Geographic:



August 30, 2014

I finished reading Paul Taylor's The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown.  This is an excellent analysis of the data on the differences among the four generations in the Unites States based on the studies of the Pew Research Group, of which Taylor is Executive Vice President). First rate data-mining and full of insights to where the US is heading all written in clear, often entertaining prose. http://www.amazon.com/Next-America-Millennials-Generational-Showdown/dp/1610393503/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410618486&sr=1-1&keywords=Next+america

September 12, 2014

Finished reading Jhumpa Lahiri's collection of short stories Interpreter of Maladies. This is a book that has been on my '"I've got to read" list for over a decade" now (it was published in 1999). I am glad that I finally got around to doing so. 
Lahiri offers superb insight into Bengali culture in each story and (in those set in the United States) among the best cross-cultural summaries I have read involving any two countries. She is a remarkable writer... and I highly recommend reading Interpreter of Maladies.

http://www.amazon.com/Interpreter-Maladies-Jhumpa-Lahiri/dp/039592720X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410617846&sr=1-1&keywords=interpreter+of+maladies

September 16, 2014

Microsoft is spending a pretty penny on Sweden's Minecraft. Catch-up is costly. "Microsoft buys Minecraft for $2.5 billion," by Jose Pagliery, CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2014/09/15/technology/minecraft-microsoft/

September 19, 2014

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier ruled nearly two weeks ago that BP acted recklessly in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig accident and oil spill.Thanks to [EMU colleague] for sharing this so that I could pass it on to you. Basic business communication -- and it still doesn't fool anybody! "BP Lawyers Use Old School Trick; Judge Not Amused," by Jeff Brady, National Public Radio. The tag summary read "A legal filing tied to the company's Gulf oil spill was supposed to have been capped at 35 pages. But lawyers for BP got a little creative with the spacing."

September 30, 2014

 This is a horrifying trend. There is much we can do to slow this and even change its direction through organizations such as the WWF, Pristine Seas, the Nature Conservancy, Blue Ocean Institute, IUCN, and other similar groups. Please support them. Thank you to Elif Sonmez Persinger for posting this so that I can pass it along to you here.  "Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the past 40 years, says WWF," by Damian Carrington, The Guardian: "Species across land, rivers and seas decimated as humans kill for food in unsustainable numbers and destroy habitats. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/29/earth-lost-50-wildlife-in-40-years-wwf


September 30, 2014

Not a good development. "First Ebola Case in US, But CDC Vows 'We Will Stop It Here'," by Sydney Lupkin, ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ebola-case-diagnosed-us-confirmed-cdc/story?id=25873850
 

September 30, 2014
 
 I just finished reading
"Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage," the latest novel by one of my all-time favorite writers Haruki Murakami. Excellent, evocative and so worth reading! 


http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0385352107?pc_redir=1412020396&robot_redir=1