Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ezzie's Blog Roundup, 1/22: For the Big O

I heard a certain someone was missing these, and frankly, so have I, so I'm making the effort to get this out just for you, O Shamash Extraordinare...

In truth, I have so much I've wanted to say about so many of these, but alas, this is not the time of year to be writing long essays and analyzing thoughts, ideas, situations, and solutions. Instead, it is the time to design spreadsheets and invent formulas so one's job can be far easier than everyone above you thinks it is, and that so the person who does the same job next year can look like a genius for filling in the information in two seconds on the sheets that took you hours to design. But that's okay, it's better that way. Keeps people humble.

So instead, here are some interesting views and reads from today and from the past few days:
  • LWY has the video of Martin Luther King Jr.'s fantastic speech from in front of the Lincoln Memorial (the "I Had A Dream" speech). I don't know that I've ever watched it all in one shot before; it strikes me as interesting that the best parts of the speech were much closer to the beginning, not near the end where he talks about the 'dream'. He was incredibly adept at referencing past to present and making analogies (the promissory note was clearly powerful), and there are times where he seems to be ad-libbing based on what is getting a reaction, even with a speech in front of him. I'm also very curious as to whether the news played the whole speech; does anyone know? Would the media now ever allow a full speech (not by the President) get such play?
  • Nephtuli has the first half of an interesting analysis of the Watchmaker theory, Science and Torah, proving Torah, and a "living" Constitution. If you're into this stuff, it's a great read.
  • R' Avi Shafran has a good letter in response to Gandhi (the grandson) regarding his rather anti-Semitic piece. Chardal was reminded by Shafran's letter of an 'open letter' written about 20 years ago that was published widely and is still as applicable now as it was then.
  • Orthomom comes back (!) with two excellent posts. The first is about the Nevada caucus which was held on a Shabbos, effectively ensuring that certain groups couldn't join. Not that too many people cared, but just by being on Saturday it caused a bit of a ruckus...
  • The second is absolutely fascinating. I could write posts and posts about this, but essentially she quotes and discusses an excellent piece by the Freakonomics authors about unintended consequences, in which they discuss - of all things - heter mechira! They discuss how the laws of shmitta, pruzbol, and heter mechira were meant to primarily help out poor people and/or be loopholes out of the law, but the controversy of the latter is now hurting most those who are of the poorest class. It's just incredible, as is Orthomom's discussion of some of it and how that impacts (or doesn't) Halacha.
  • Via Orthonomics (of course), a great step toward financial transparency in the Jewish world. Yiasher Koach to R' Torczyner and the institutions he cites for further encouraging it. May all institutions and charities follow the same path.
  • RafiG (in RBS itself) and others have been keeping people posted about the man who was beaten in Ramat Beit Shemesh by kannoim; there was a protest last night in response by a large number of Charedim, who are finally sick of what is happening around them. See RafiG or others for more details and up-to-date info. Ha'aretz has picked up the story.
  • B4S links to an interesting letter posted to YeshivaWorld by a guy who is appalled with the shidduch system after he was lied to all around. While he opens himself up to quite a bit of criticism (after implying he'd have acted the same as what he eventually complains about and being slightly braggy to start), a lot of what he says has some merit, and it's an interesting read.
And now, back to Excel - err, bed...

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