I know what I want…

…for Christmas, Chanukah and my birthday.  This.


More on women in veils

Over at American Thinker, you can read about Nyamko Sabuni, Sweden’s new Integration and Equality Minister. Contrary to the Orwellian overtones in that title, Ms. Sabuni, a Muslim, is vocally opposed to female circumcision and arranged marriages, among other things. The American Thinker squiblet takes Ms. Sabuni’s appointment as the opportunity to address the veil wars suddenly raging in Europe:

I find it particularly interesting that the veil has become an object of contention in Sweden, Britain, the UK, and possibly elsewhere. The veil is not a theological requirement, but rather a custom of some Islamic countries, and it has been associated with the rise of extremist Islamism. It most definitely prevents women wearing them from fully integrating into local cultures. Quite frankly, I am offended by veiled women as symbols of oppression as Saudis claim to be by miniskirted females.

The last sentence resonated with me because it tracks with something in my day to day life. The other day, Mr. Bookworm noted accurately and with some surprise that we’re seeing more and more veiled women in Marin. As does Mr. Lifson, he expressed his distaste for these wrapped up packages, often seen shuffling behind their husbands.

It’s not only the obviously traditional married women (many of whom look like recent immigrants) getting covered up in Marin, though. The other day, we saw an energetic young woman, in skin tight jeans and t-shirt, dispensing smoothies at Jamba Juice, despite an unmistakable headscarf (that is, the scarf could not be mistaken for a fashion statement).

I’m uncomfortable seeing these shrouded figures in Marin, but figure it’s their prerogative, as long as they don’t impose it on us. After all, all over America, in Orthodox Jewish enclaves, Jewish women in wigs, hats, long sleeves and heavy stockings go unremarked, primarily because they consider that their clothes are none of our business. To me, that’s the essence of religious and ritual freedom in a pluralist country. (And yes, I recognize that there are religious and ritual practices we don’t allow despite our freedoms, with human sacrifice being the first to spring to mind.)

Don’t cut off my nose to spite your face

There’s a dangerous trend amongst Republicans right now to say that the Republican Congress has been weak and profligate and to announce a plan to “punish” Republicans by abstaining from the elections, voting for third party candidates, or even voting for Democrats. I’m sure the Republicans will get the message, but so will the American people — and the message, if you’ll excuse my language, will be “you’re really screwed now.” If you doubt me, read Investor Business Daily’s carefully reasoned essay explaining that, no matter how the Republicans may disappoint you, they are way better than the Democrats. The IBD essay uses forty years’ worth of historical examples to support its conclusion. I’ve lived through every one of those examples, so can attest to their veracity.

So, please don’t cut off my nose to spite your face. If you feel like punishing someone, help catch a terrorist.
Hat tip: Webloggin

And now for something completely different

Daniel Pipes suggests a completely different approach in Iraq, which would remove American troops from immediate harm in urban areas (there’s you’re withdrawal bit), while enabling them to continue to perform tasks vitally necessary to the delicate new Iraqi nation:

“Stay the course – but change the course.” I suggest pulling coalition forces out of the inhabited areas of Iraq and redeploying them to the desert.

This way, the troops remain indefinitely in Iraq, but remote from the urban carnage. It permits the American-led troops to carry out essential tasks (protecting borders, keeping the oil and gas flowing, ensuring that no Saddam-like monster takes power) while ending their non-essential work (maintaining street-level order, guarding their own barracks).

He explains more about his idea’s benefits here.  It’s certainly intriguing.

Hollywood talent on the conservative side

David Zucker, a Hollywood neocon, has produced another video, this time about the Dems’ promise to increase taxes. You can see it here, at Flopping Aces. It’s quite funny, although I’d prefer something showing that, while Dems and Republicans are equally profligate with our money (although for entirely different agendas), lower taxes actually bring in more money for these spendthrifts to enjoy!

Are we just jealous or is he a con man?

The New York Times runs a funny, but somewhat disturbing story about a Yale student’s video application to a securities firm, which someone at the firm leaked, and which is now a YouTube staple:

With his name and image appearing on the “Today” show, in The New York Post and all over the Web site Gawker, Aleksey Vayner may be the most famous investment-banking job applicant in recent memory.

But he says his new celebrity is less blessing than curse.

“This has been an extremely stressful time,” Mr. Vayner, a senior at Yale University, told DealBook over steak in a northern New Jersey restaurant Thursday.

It was his first face-to-face meeting with a reporter since an 11-page application and elaborate video clip that he submitted to securities firm UBS showed up on two blogs, and then quickly spread to every corner of the Internet. The clip, staged to look like a job interview spliced with shots of Mr. Vayner’s athletic prowess, flooded e-mail inboxes across Wall Street and eventually appeared on the video-sharing site YouTube. And the overwhelming reaction was mocking laughter.

In the video, Vayner presents himself as an athletic dynamo, capable of superhuman feats in various fields.  It’s seven minutes of self congratulatory footage which would naturally result in the video’s subject becoming an object of ridicule.  Hagiography should never merge with biography.

What’s disturbing about the whole thing is twofold.  First, no matter how funny it was, UBS should never have released the video for public consumption.  Even if it’s not illegal, it’s unethical to take material sent to UBS for its consumption in connectio with a job application and then to broadcast it to the world.  Second, there are now stories cropping up that Vayner himself, rather than being merely boastful, may himself be a con artist.  There doesn’t seem to be any doubt but that he is a Yale student, but many of his other stories about himself are suspect, and he may well have committed fraud in the guise of a false charity.  That’s a reminder that both things and people are often too good to be true.

It’s not your father’s Democratic party anymore

One of the reasons I left private school for public school is that, as the kids got older, they had more and more after school activities.  This prevented me from putting them in an after school care program and, instead, saw me driving all of the place to drop one child off here and the other child off there.  The lost ten hours of work every work made private school too costly.  Now that we’re in public school, though, I’m losing even more hours.  This is because of all the mandatory meetings parents have to attend, and the many days during which school lets out early.  I can’t argue with the necessity of an given meeting, but I still resent the time suckage.  Of course, without tuition, I can absorb a lot of time suckage.

This long intro leads to the fact that I won’t be blogging for a couple of hours, since I have to head off to one of the mandatory meetings.  (They have an evening meeting for the working patents but, with my husband out of town, that won’t work for me.)  If you’re Jewish, though, and wavering politically, I’ve got an article for you to read and think about.  Ed Lasky, writing for American Thinker, carefully goes through all the reasons why your not imagining the nascent anti-Semitism coming out of the American Democratic party.  It’s fascinating reading.

Speaking of fascinating reading, I got hold of a copy of Michael Medved’s Right Turns.  Aside from its inherent interest, it’s fascinating to see where his young life continuously intersected with today’s important cultural and political figures (on both sides of the aisle).  It’s also a reminder how important Yale’s classes from the 1960s are to American thought and politics.