Tuesday, May 20, 2008

When I Grow Up...

A lot of changes happening for me this coming summer. I'm quiting my job in a month's time. I'm moving to New York City right after that. I'm starting a Ph.D. program in the fall. And just before that, I'm going to propose to GF.

So, I'd love to get some input on what I should do for the summer. Duvall has suggested something fun like volunteering at a museum. GF has suggested that I do something that will advance my academic network (volunteer research). A coworker has suggested that I:

  1. Write short articles everyday or week and try to get them published. Also, start a blog to house them all.
  2. Tutor kids.
  3. Help old ladies cross the street (or just something related to old people).
  4. Work with illegal immigrants using language skills.
  5. Assist a presidential campaign.

She came up with all this in the span of about five minutes. Needless to say, she didn't want to do her work.

So, what do you all think? My fallback is temping, which I'm perfectly happy with. I do want to stay in NYC and hold to a 9-5 or so schedule as much as possible, as this is GF and my chance to finally live together. And we're getting a Wii for some quality time together.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Old Friends

Turns out, being checked out at work has its advantages. Otherwise, I would never have been bored enough to discover that Fafblog has returned.

Fafblog - The best source anywhere for snarky politics and pie.

Political Reading

Since I'm completely checked out at work (even though I shouldn't be), I wanted to share some great political articles I've been reading. I often pick these up from www.aldaily.com.

Thunder from Tibet - An excellent article on the protests and violence in Tibet in March.

Obama on Zionism and Hamas
- Obama's thoughts on Israel and the U.S. in the Middle East more generally.

Confessions of a Sweatshop Inspector - Great look at the methods of ensuring corporate social responsibility.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Time to Let Go?

All the recent discussion of Tibet and today's primary in Guam got me thinking. Isn't it time for the U.S. to formulate a general plan to let the colonies go? What I mean by "colonies" is our Pacific and Atlantic islands, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa etc...? Of course, in prinicpal I would probably be willing to part with sections of the southwest, and I have always considered sections of the midwest to be expendible. Why not take the Dakotas, Montana, unpopulated sections of Wyoming, and other rather unimportant states and just give them back to the Native American populations who lay claim to the land?

Anycase, in the case of the islands, I suspect there would be quite a few logistic hurdles to pass before we can cut them free. First, every one of those places is heavily dependant on the US for direct economic aid. We would probably have to continue supporting these territories long after they formally declare Independence. In places like Hawaii with significant non-indigenous populations, rights of the "foreign" population would have to be guaranteed up to a certain point after Independence. Also, complicated legal issues like real estate holdings, business interests, and other claims of ownership would have to be clarified over a long period of negotiation.

Nevertheless, I don't see the US losing out on much in the giveaway. Key military installations could probably be maintained via special treaties. In return, the US gains a better moral standing in the world and has greater legitimacy as a non-colonial power.