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While Palin enjoys support from some prominent Jewish conservatives, it is not an exaggeration to say that, more so than any other major political figure in recent memory (with the possible exception of Patrick J. Buchanan), she rubs Jews the wrong way. In a September 2008 poll by the American Jewish Committee (AJC), Jews disapproved of Palin as the pick for McCain’s vice-presidential running mate by a 54 to 37 percent margin. (By contrast, 73 percent approved of the selection of Joseph Biden as Obama’s.) Ask an average American Jew about Palin and you are likely to get a nonverbal response—a shiver, a shudder, a roll of the eyes, or a guffaw. Naomi Wolf, the feminist writer, sputtered that Palin was the “FrankenBarbie of the Rove-Cheney cabal,” articulating the mixture of contempt and fear that seemed to grip many Jewish women. The disdain is palpable and largely emotional. While 78 percent of American Jews voted for the Obama-Biden ticket, it is fair to say that most did not harbor animosity toward or contempt for Senator John McCain; the same cannot be said of their view of Palin. –“Why Jews Hate Palin,” Jennifer Rubin, Commentary
Sports TV is hard (recommendation: watch this video until the end);
physics is easy;
but not as easy, perhaps, as meeting with a radical Muslim cleric in Yemen;
which is, apparently, downright anhidrosic
My brain boggles my mind. Its mystery. Its moody monologue. I walk down Bagley Avenue this fine April day. The Seattle sky is blue. The Brain, wrote Emily Dickinson, is wider than the Sky, since it contains both Sky and You. My own brain contains this blue sky plus six cherry trees in full bloom. Plus the memory of my granddad’s face. Plus bungalow yards and rock gardens bright with tulips, violets, camellias, and azaleas. The passing scene enters my eyes in the form of light waves. Neurons in my retina convert these light waves into electrical impulses that travel farther back into my brain. Our brain contains 100 billion neurons (nerve cells). Our gray matter. Each neuron has an axon—a little arm—that transmits information in the form of electrical impulses to the dendrites—receivers—of nearby neurons. Dendrites branch twig-like from each neuron. Between axon and dendrite, the synapse is the point of connection. Axons commune with dendrites across the synaptic gap. When neurons “fire,” they emit a rat-a-tat-tat of electrical pulses that travel down the axon and arrive at its terminal endings, which secrete from tiny pockets a neurotransmitter (dopamine, say, or serotonin). The neurotransmitter ferries the message across the synaptic abyss and binds to the synapse, whereupon the synapse converts it back into an electrical pulse . . .So there you have the brain: a three-pound bagful of neurons, electrical pulses, chemical messengers, glial cells. There, too, you have the biological basis of the mind. “Anything can happen,” says the poet C. D. Wright, “in the strange cities of the mind.”…But what, then, is consciousness? –“My Brain on My Mind,” Priscilla Long, The American Scholar
Eleven years after the Nisga’a became the first tribe in British Columbia to sign a treaty, gaining self-government over 2000 square kilometers on the northwest coast, the nation went a step further and decided to let its citizens own the homes they live in. The news that private ownership would be legal on Nisga’a land rippled out of the Nass River valley in November, reminding those who heard it of how things work for the rest of Canada’s First Nations. If you live on a reserve in this country, your home belongs to the Crown, effectively barring you from the single most important economic tool in Western society: credit. –“Indigenous Capitalists, From BC to Peru,” Arno Kopecky, The Tyee
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”