Sunday, August 26, 2007
Should such a "scholar" really be hired by Columbia University?
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I feel like I'm about to enter Jerusalem or Tzefat again, as I arm myself with a long skirt and covered arms to face the Lubavitch community. I wonder if they'll accept me as a Jew or if I am a total outsider to their traditional version of an ever-changing faith.
Hopefully my French "fluency" will help me delve into the other half of the community, the black Caribbean population. Behold, my French minor may actually prove useful for something!
Well, here I go, off to the A-train for a fun-filled day of explorations...
Monday, August 20, 2007
Lengthier post to come shortly, as my newest journeys unfold.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Perhaps one day, when I've become the Andrea Mitchell of print/online journalism, I'll be able to afford such things. Until then, I'll just hope that next year's cardboard box has running water.
I'm certainly grateful to my parents for being such overly generous providers, including this year's rent and tuition in New York City. Living with Dr. Mom and Dr. Dad, I've been so lucky throughout my entire life -- able to have almost anything I ever needed or even wanted. And family vacations were no tent in the woods; in fact, five-star hotels were rather customary accommodations. I'll be forever thankful to my parents for the financial ease by which I glided through childhood.
But was this a tease?
I could've gone to med school, I could've been in Wharton. Hey, maybe I even could have been a chemical engineer like my brother. And in all of those careers I'd be making six-figures rather quickly. But I'd be quite unhappy. The truth is, I've loved writing since I first learned how to fingerpaint in pre-school, and journalism is an exciting (albeit dying) field, where I can explore the world and report back in words.
I wonder, however, am I pursuing my dreams at the expense of the comfortable life I have always known?
Monday, August 13, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Now why do the UN members choose to ignore this man's comments? Might they be too ashamed of the accuracy laden in his thoroughly researched statement?
For years now, I have seen the UN as an utterly useless organization, but lately, their behaviors and decisions are certainly bordering on terrorism. The UN Watch speaker includes sharp evidence to legitimize his case against the Human Rights Council, those so-called protectors of international human rights.
He begins a venerable barrage of attacks against the "criminal" Human Rights Council, declaring, "One might say in Harry Truman's words that this has become a do-nothing, good-for-nothing council -- but that would be inaccurate. This council has after all done something; it has enacted one resolution after another, condemning one single state -- Israel."
The speaker criticizes how "Hammas and Hezbollah have been granted impunity," an unthinkable regression in any viable climb towards human rights. Some of the most vocal advocates of the Human Rights Council are the Middle East dictators themselves, who would hypocritically declare that "they seek to protect human rights -- Palestinian rights," just as "the racist murderers of Darfur women care about the rights of Palestinian women."
The UN Watch representative proceeds to demonstrate how these alleged supporters of Palestinian human rights don't really even care about Palestinian rights at all -- really, their claims serve only to vilify Israel. He proves his claims by recalling the glaring events of recent months:
"More than 130 Palestinians were killed by Palestinian forces. This is THREE times the combined total that were the pretext for calling special sessions in July and November, yet the 'champions' of humans rights -- Ahmadinejad, Assad, Qadaffi, John Dugard -- say nothing ... Why has this council chosen silence? Because -- because Israel could not be blamed. Because, in truth, the despots who run this council couldn't care less about Palestinians, or about any human rights. They seek to demonize Israeli democracy, to deligitimize the Jewish state, to scapegoat the Jewish people. They also seek something else -- to distort and pervert the very language and idea of human rights."
He concludes by declaring that the current council is turning the founders' dreams into a "nightmare," and Council President Doru Costea (Romania) -- immediately dismisses the representative's statement as both false and offensive. To do anything else would be surrender, an admission that the speaker is correct.
With terrorist nations at the forefront of the council, this supposed human rights conglomerate is nothing but a two-faced cocktail party for dictators, brimming with injustice and hypocrisy. And as usual, who must they scapegoat? Why, the Jews of course. Killings fly by unnoticed, unless the deaths occur under Israeli hands. Palestinians terrorize both Israelis and each other, genocides occur in the very countries where Human Rights Council members preside and yet, the victims' voices are silenced before they can even speak.
Anyone ever wonder why neither the United States nor Israel are even members of the Human Rights Council?
I can't even begin to imagine all of the exciting people whom I'll meet. In addition to the world renown journalists on the faculty, many of the other students are already reporters entrenched in the field, coming back to school for a master's degree. The average age in our class will be 28, and it may be a bit intimidating at first to hold my ground among people with so much experience. But luckily, the DP has given an amazing foundation, and I am grateful for all the instruction I received both there and during my summer position at NJBIZ newspaper.
This summer began an exciting new epoch in my life, and I can't wait to become part of such an electric and constantly changing field. Who knows what this year is going to bring.
So next Thursday, I'll grab that book-bag and
Monday, August 6, 2007
So what about fun?
Few New Yorkers are aware of the free activities available to them throughout the summer. My favorite -- run entirely by volunteers -- is the free kayaking on the Hudson River. The New York City Downtown Boathouse oversees facilities at three different ports: Peir 40 at Houston St., Pier 96 at 56th St. and next to the riverside cafe at 72nd St. Without hassling any participants for donations, the organization provides free life jackets, kayaking time and optional instruction for both beginners and advanced boaters. All you have to do is sign a waiver and take responsibility for your own safety, but trust me, you won't drown.
And hey, I may have been splashed by some unknown megamorphic Hudson River toxins and/or lifeforms, but we had a great time. In all seriousness, it's a fun experience and incredibly relaxing. Now the question is -- when you look across the river, which cluster of high rises is Weehauken, and which is Jersey City?
Another really interesting place to visit is (Penn nerds, read on) The Science Barge. Located essentially adjacent to the 72nd St. kayaking port, The Science Barge is a self-contained environmental studies museum and agricultural producer, perched on -- you guessed it! -- a barge. The scientists and interns who work on-board experiment with different types of power, such as solar, wind and used vegetable oil from NYC restaurants. While the functionality and profitability of these alternative sources is certainly debatable, the barge presents an admirable effort to uncover future solutions for environmentally-friendly power systems. Also inside is a miniature vegetable greenhouse, growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, arugula and various herbs -- all of which are sold, if I remember correctly. The scientists experiment with new growing methods and soil types, using the residual waste from an on-board fish tank to fertilize the plants. Water recirculates from plants to filtration back to plants, leaving absolutely no run-off from the ship into the Hudson River.
No run-off? Well, what about human waste?
The answer, which I feverishly procured, is that there is no restroom aboard The Science Barge. Alas my fellow small-bladdered females, you must be prepared to hold it in for the duration of your tour. Fortunately, wherever the barge docks in the park, there is always a nearby bathroom facility. In order to have a functional restroom sans run-off, the barge would need to have a compost bathroom, which is very expensive and difficult to maintain at this point. Perhaps a future endeavor?
And no, I really didn't have to pee.
Poland: Jewish cemetery desecrated
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
"Vandals spray painted swastikas and other Nazi symbols on about 100 gravestones at a large Jewish cemetery in Poland, police said Monday.
"This is one of the biggest acts of destruction in years," said Jan Gebert, spokesman for the Jewish community in Warsaw. "In fact, I can't think of any other cases in Europe that have been this big."
The vandals used black spray paint to tag the gravestones with the letters SS, swastikas, and the slogan "Jews Out" written in German.
Gaska said police had not observed activity by anti-Semitic groups in the region for some time, and that the incident appeared to be of a "hooligan nature."
Czestochowa's Jewish cemetery has about 4,500 graves and is one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in Poland.
This country was home to about 3.5 million Jews - Europe's largest Jewish community - until the Holocaust, when most were killed by Nazi Germany. Today there are an estimated 30,000 Jews in Poland."
"A suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden truck into a village near the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar on Monday, killing at least 28 people and wounding 50 others, an Iraqi army official said.
At least 19 of those killed were children, Brig. Gen. Najim Abdullah told The Associated Press.
The blast left a 10-foot crater in the ground and damaged 10 homes in the Shiite Turkmen village of Qubbak, about six miles (10 kilometers) northeast of Tal Afar, the army official told CNN.
The suicide bomber used a dump truck and covered his deadly wares in a layer of gravel, Abdullah told the AP..."
How, I wonder, can such people possibly be human? While any form of terrorism is nothing less than shocking, targeting children seems to be the most ruthless, psychotically twisted form of assault. And it doesn't even make sense. These terrorists are no longer even targeting their so-called "enemies;" rather, they're going after innocent victims who don't even have the wherewithal to take a side. Normally, I would characterize terrorist activities as horrific and evil yet grounded in entirely sane and calculated decisions. After all, if we call Adolf Hitler or Osama Bin Laden insane, then we essentially excuse and condone their behaviors. But how can going after hordes of defenseless children and killing indiscriminately like this possibly have any rational basis? It's a mind-boggling, nauseating issue... What are these terrorists even getting out of their ploys, besides hatred from the rest of the world and resentment from their uninvolved families?