This is not the time and venue to go into a deep analysis of the current situation with Russia and the Ukraine, though it does have potential repercussions worldwide. If Putin retakes the Crimea, for example, what will his thoughts be regarding Alaska? If the United States is perceived as weak and unwilling to flex its military and diplomatic muscle, then will the Japanese decide to depend upon themselves for military defenses? And if so, what will be their designs on Korea? (Remember that unrestrained Japanese military power has brought about incidents at Pearl Harbor, Bataan, Manila, Nanking and Alexandra Hospital, et cetera). And so on.
My perspective is colored by the fact that I am a Jewish American, and all four of my grandparents came here from what is now the former Soviet Union. Two of my grandparents were from the Ukraine and one was from the Crimea (which had not yet been officially turned over to the Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Premier who himself was from the Ukraine).
I am concerned for the safety and well-being of the Jewish communities in the Ukraine and the Crimea. Historically, neither the Russians nor the Ukrainians have been particularly friendly towards us, nor have many other ethnic groups in the mix, including the Crimean Tartars, many of whom collaborated with the Nazis during World War II. On the other hand, I have no quarrel with the Russian or Ukrainian or Tartar or anyone else who lives his or her life and minds his or her business and does not assault or attack others.
The situation is very complex, and very dangerous, to say the least.
On the college campus where I teach, there is a small but vocal group of leftists (or rather, far, far left of the left leftists) who regularly set up tables to pass out their pap propaganda in support of all kinds of leftist causes (and against freedom and American causes, but that is redundant). Today, their tables were not set up in the usual locations, and the useful idiots were nowhere to be found in the Student Union building.
My foray to the Student Union building (I had a meeting with someone whose office happens to be there) was just a sample of one. But I cannot help but wonder what the Red Lefties are trying to mentally wrestle with when they know that they will receive ridicule at best for backing the Comintern Conspiracy, and are too much owned on a lock, stock, and barrel basis by the Communist Party to back the Ukrainians.
These are not fun times to be a leftist.
Today's Quote of the Day (selected by the City & State website people) is from New York City
Commissar Mayor Bill de Blasio:
" I don’t tell the NYPD how to do their work when it comes to protecting me—they’re the experts. I respect that. So, in any given moment, they may see something I don’t see. They may act in a way that isn’t immediately understandable to me. But they’re trained to handle things in a certain way."
This comment refers to the Mayoral Motorcade being observed violating multiple traffic laws, even as de Blasio attempts to ram legislation through City Council to lower the speed limits in New York City.
Very interesting, Bill! You seem to have no trouble micromanaging New York's Finest when they try to protect the public from terrorism.
So it is one standard for Comrade Bill and the Nomenklaturaniks in his Politburo, and another standard for the rest of us.
So this is what he means by the Tale of Two New Yorks and the inequality crisis?
Archaeology has always had lots of political baggage. Now, it seems, New York City politics may have some archaeological baggage.
Some urban archaeologists have uncovered a two-century old buried mass of trash on the grounds of City Hall.
"The centuries-old trash, in a pile found three feet underground and extending to a depth of about six feet was also filled with liquor bottles and various items associated with food waste, suggesting it may have all came from one celebratory event."
There are endless possibilities for historical political repercussions in the highly unlikely event that the item's former owner is ever identified.
As one who abides by the kosher dietary laws, I do personally take notice of Denmark's new edict to prohibit kosher slaughter, ostensibly grounded in a supposed concern for not causing pain to animals (but many, myself included, read some other agenda into it).
Fact is that kosher slaughter severs the jugular vein, causing instantaneous death to the animal.
I shall not now dwell on the arguments pro and con regarding kosher slaughter ("shechita" in Hebrew), or regarding vegetarianism or veganism. I will, however, note the irony in the recent death of another animal in Denmark, namely, Marius the Giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo.
Something is not kosher in this new Danish governmental edict.
The anniversary of my Dad's passing is almost upon me. Actually, I go through it twice annually, once for the Gregorian calendar and the other for the Hebrew calendar.
I have been going through his papers, organizing them, putting them into electronic format (usually PDF). I go through periods where I make lots of headway, and then go for a few weeks or months with no activity. The process is slow, and it has a heavy emotional element to it. There are documents in the trove that reflect matters Dad had discussed with me, and then, there are papers that tell stories I have never heard before. There is no doubt in my mind that Dad intended me to eventually see those papers, put two and two together, make some inferences from my knowledge of the way the Department of Defense worked, and thereby receive the oral history he could not directly impart to me for reasons of confidentiality and security.
During my days with the Department of Defense 30 +/- years ago, I had occasion to encounter more than a handful of people, in and out of uniform, both Government and Contractor side of the table, who had occasion to personally work with Dad, and a few more who had never met him personally but had seen his name in various contexts.
Dad was strongly principled, but I never really viewed him as being an outspoken activist of my own stripe; he certainly was more reserved than I am and didn't like to make too many waves. But, as I learned during the past 48 hours, he was quite capable of causing consternation and agita to government contractors and high-level bureaucrats. Perhaps his recessive gene for that trait has expressed itself in me (his own father, my grandfather, was notorious for speaking his mind and irritating polite society when necessary).
Looking at my calendar and seeing that the anniversary date is imminent, I once again started looking through Dad's papers. This is not the venue to go into details of my latest findings, but it will suffice to say that Dad was instrumental in getting a certain government contract canceled when he was in Uncle Sam's employ. The contract was for certain aircraft components which, in following the laws of physics, invoked the law of unintended consequences, thereby causing other systems of the aircraft in which they were installed to malfunction. Dad wrote memos, backed by scientific data and drawings, to explain the situation and go above the head of the particular bureaucrat who thought that the aircraft flew just fine.
It is clear that the bug in the system posed a real danger to the military personnel who flew in the aircraft (and, of course, to any bystander who might happen to be proximate to the point of impact in the event of a crash).
Many years ago I had heard Dad discuss this matter, very circumspectly, with some of his technical / scientific / engineering friends.
Perhaps the reason Dad was successful in averting the potential damage was that not only did he rationally and convincingly describe and analyze the problem, but he also proposed a few solutions to it. The implementation of those solutions was apparently not well received by several in the offices of certain private sector contractors, nor by certain higher level bureaucrats within the government.
Shortly thereafter, Dad received a promotion to a higher civil service grade. He was only a year and a half out of college. It would take me almost five years into my own government career to cause perturbations of a similar magnitude.
Rest in Peace, Dad.