Saturday, February 7, 2009

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thoughts about the election

It wasn't easy to watch such an intensely "American" event unfold on the television, thousands of miles away. I found myself longing to talk about it with anyone who would listen (and some people who probably preferred not to). It felt like an important moment for America, and I wanted to be there to be part of it.

There were a lot of things that I expected to make me feel homesick... but a financial crisis and a presidential election were not on that list. Strangely I felt the same way about the NYC blackout in 2003, which i was also abroad for.

The best email "forward" from the election was the one about the poster that read:

Rosa sat,
So Martin could walk,
So Obama could run,
So our children could fly

If its impossible for a white person to understand what this event means for black people in America, this line certainly helps me get an idea. It still gives me goosebumps to read it.

The most salient observation made from a friend came from Javier, who isn't even an American. He said that it was as if Americans finally realized that they dont get to live in the greatest country in the world just because its always been that way during our lifetimes - we finally "woke up" and realized that we had to fight for it. Maybe you need to be an outsider (and someone who has lived in a country that has seen ups and downs) to appreciate what a significant inflection point the US is actually in right now. Thank you, Javier.

I supported Obama. Not because I think he's going to save the world, and not because i hold McCain accountable for Bush's errors. I supported him because I think he believes what he wrote in his second book about our politics needing to move beyond the culture wars. I am not blind to the risks with Obama - particularly his views on trade and the possibility that Congress will push him to view his "mandate" as an opening to pursue a hard left agenda. To quote Obama, I have the "audacity" to hope that he will make the most of unique opportunity that fate has handed him: an engaged American population and a sea of goodwill across the world.

I also really hope McCain and Hilary Clinton seize the opportunity they have - to unite our country in a time of crisis and solve our big problems.

As for Palin: its NOT her lack of experience, its NOT that she hunts and kills animals, and its NOT that she cant keep it together during an interview with Katie Couric. She simply epitomizes what is holding our great country back from meeting its potential. We need to move on from the cultural arguments about abortion and gay rights, because there is no middle ground. If you disagree with me on these topics, there is nothing i can say to try and change your mind. So lets just move on. She was and continues to be "unqualified" to lead our country for the same reason Hilary Clinton is - too many Americans are unable to even consider giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Sara and I had a "weekend escape" to Prague this past weekend to celebrate her birthday. This is part of our plan to spend all our money and visit as many European cities as possible. So what if we cant afford a house on Long Island when we get back home???

So Prague, as anyone who has been there can attest, is really one of the quintesential "European" cities. It escaped being a major part of any of the 20th century wars, and as a result has kept its historical character. It is without a doubt a beautiful place to visit, and all the locals are super friendly and English-speaking. Its not as cheap as it used to be though - meals were on average around 1000-1500 koruna, and beers or coffee typically 150-200 koruna. For our visit, the relevant exchange rates were 16:1 for USD, 25:1 for EUR and 30:1 for GBP. It used to be MUCH cheaper.

Most people will tell you that there are three "must-do's" in Prague: the Castle, the Bridge, and the Clock. To that list, for anyone with even a remote interest in history and culture, the Jewish Museum must be added. Aside from perhaps the concentration camps themselves (which we have yet to visit), there is nowhere else in Europe where the tragedy of the holocaust is so "alive", since you are literally walking in the day to day footsteps of people who lived relatively ordinary lives before the Nazi's came along. To be honest, it is more "real" than even Yad Vashem or the various Holocaust museums in the US, because the exhibits are real places where real people lived. Especially for non-Jews, the museum is a tasteful and comprehensive exhibit to Jewish culture and history in Europe, and one that should be part of any visit to Prague.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Thank you, 2007 NEW YORK Giants. On behalf of NY sports fans everywhere, thank you for finally stopping this boston sports run. This Yankees fan will be wearing Giants blue in your honor tomorrow.

Friday, January 25, 2008

What about the other 6,399 people who died on Tuesday (on average)...

For the record, i had no clue who Heath Ledger was. I will now crawl back under my rock.

Oh, and this will be a recurring theme: google and the internet are simply amazing tools, and even more amazing is that someone else foots the bill for all of us to use them. You can google "daily mortality rate" and poof: on average, 6,400 people die each day in the US.