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Joshua Sharf

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« May 2009 | Main | July 2009 »

June 19, 2009

The Youth In Iran

My friend, Ana Sami, wrote a piece for Al Arabiyah prior to the Iranian elections, discussing the role of the youth there.  Given that university students have been both the focus of government attacks, and the main, on-the-street, Twitter-assisted organizers of the stree protests, I thought it was worth highlighting this paragraph:

A noteworthy implication of Iran's youthful population includes timing. Currently, Iran's population while now old enough to understand and participate in politics, cannot be held accountable or claim loyalty to a government they never chose. While their parents' generation cannot be held fully responsible for what was to become of the revolution, they can at a minimum claim political participation and activism to change a way of life they knew and rebelled against.

The bold reactions and content of criticism surrounding the candidates from within Iran's youthful population is striking considering previous protests and the consequences that followed.

Read the whole thing here.

June 18, 2009

The Wrong Direction

That Heritage Foundation chart, with the CBO's preliminary scoring of the Senate's health care bill.  (Hat Tip: Keith Hennessey)


June 14, 2009

The Siren that Cried Wolf

My house is about 100 yards from the local tornado siren.  It's gone off three times in the last half-hour, and it's totally inaudible from most of the house (except perhaps to the dogs.  More than that, no funnel clouds.

Now, I say this with some mild disappointment, but mostly with frustration.  I'm happy the windows block out so much sound, but you'd think that a tornado siren on a busy street would come through better than a typical car horn.

More than that, if you really want people to head for their basements with their pets, government-mandated water bottles, hand-cranked radios, and all that ammunition they've been hoarding, then <I>don't blow false alarms</I>.

June 11, 2009

Calling Victor Davis Hanson

Of all the calumnies hurled against Israel, perhaps the most damaging is the claim that its self-defense measures showhow equate with its being an apartheid state.

In 1999, Victor Davis Hanson wrote The Soul of Battle, which described the marches of three great democratic armies to destroy apartheid states.  The Theban Epaminondas detroyed Spartan society and freed the Helots.  Sherman wrecked the Southern economy and exposed its internal contradictions, while freeing the black slaves.  And George Patton detroyed the Nazi state's ability to wage war, and could have prevented the Soviet takeover of central Europe had he been allowed to get there first.

Hanson notes that the unique quality of the armies is matched by the particular enmity that democracies have for apartheid societies, and their massive, collective injustices.

While Barack Obama and Condoleeza Rice may not have intended to compare the Israelis to Southern slaveholders or segregationists, by comparing the Palestinians to American Blacks, they have guaranteed that the Arabs will do just that, and with renewed gusto and confidence.

By virtue of his particular work and his strong moral sense, as well as his understanding of how the real world works, Prof. Hanson may well be uniquely qualified to rebut such charges.

How about it Professor?

June 9, 2009

Virginia's Governor's Race is Set

Mostly because they're off-year elections, I still slightly follow politics from my former home state of Virginia.  This year, the Democrats had a contested gubernatorial primary, and come-from-behind (literally) candidate Creigh Deeds seems to have run away with the nomination.  Deeds will try to beat Republican Bob McDonnell, who's the odds-on favorite in the general election.

If he succeeds, he'll be the first Democrat governor elected in Virginia while the Democrats also held the White House since Mills Godwin in 1966. 

Interestingly, Godwin is also the last Republican to have been elected Virginia governor during a Republican presidency, getting elected again in 1974. 

Virginia governors can't succeed themselves, and Godwin was the first governor to win non-consecutive terms since William Smith, twice a war governor.

Wildlife and Us

Worth keeping in mind as Denver tries to tell us to coexist with the Coyotes.  We've seen this movie before with other animals.

Scientists and outdoorsmen began to warn of danger, but they were ignored by both the Boulder public -- which was sentimentally attached to the idea of free-roaming wildlife -- and state wildlife-protection bureaucrats, who downplayed first the presence, and then the danger, posed by the cougars. Dogs and cats started being eaten, cougars started threatening people, and yet meetings on the subject were dominated by people who "came to speak for the cougars."

June 8, 2009

CFA Level II Post Mortem

Saturday was gorgeous.  So naturally, I assumed that Sunday would be the same, and that I'd be spending a perfectly beautiful Colorado day inside taking a test.  I needn't have worried.

In the meantime, a few observations:

1) It's a ton of material to cover.  It doesn't cover any more breadth than the Level I, but with fewer questions, there are fewer opportunities to make up an gaps with other questions.

2) There's much less calculation than in the Level I.  More of the questions are qualitative, and of the questions that do require calculation, the arithmetic is usually pretty straightforward.  While the Level I might ask you to calculate a NPV or the value of an annuity or depreciation based on double-declining balance, most of the work here is in recognizing the type of problem and setting it up.  You could probably do the math with a slide rule.

This means that:

3) More of the questions - although not all - of the the know-it-or-not variety.

4) There are three choices instead of four.  This makes is harder to sneak in the two-for-one questions: A and B, A not-B, B not-A, not-A not-B.  And yet...

5) They still manage to do so, along the lines of, "under the so-and-so theory of capital allocation, Mrs. Smith should put what percent of her money in Amalgamated Congoleum?"  You need to know what the theory is, what it says about this specific calculation, and then you need to do the computation.

In short, it's not just a knowledge test, it also requires you to put pieces together.

I do know I did better than last time, but whether I did well enough to pass, well, we'll find out in a about 2 months.  The monks grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly small.

June 2, 2009

Blog Talk Radio

This evening, we'll be interviewing Evergreen businessman Dan Maes, Republican candidate for governor here in Colorado in 2010, and businessman Cleve Tidwell, who's facing a three-way primary (so far) on the Republican side in the race to take on interim Senator Michael Bennett.

Colorado's a red state gone bad blue, and it's a pivot state for the West and the rest of the country.  We'll be talking about the candidate's plans to counter the Colorado Model and start taking the state back for the Republicans.


Power, Faith, and Fantasy

Six Days of War

An Army of Davids

Learning to Read Midrash

Size Matters

Deals From Hell

A War Like No Other


A Civil War

Supreme Command

The (Mis)Behavior of Markets

The Wisdom of Crowds

Inventing Money

When Genius Failed

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Back in Action : An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude

How Would You Move Mt. Fuji?

Good to Great

Built to Last

Financial Fine Print

The Day the Universe Changed


The Multiple Identities of the Middle-East

The Case for Democracy

A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam

The Italians

Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory

Beyond the Verse: Talmudic Readings and Lectures

Reading Levinas/Reading Talmud