Month: February 2018

The History of the Gerrymander

We live in an era in the United States where, in many states, politicians are picking their voters, not the other way around.  This is because in most states, the boundaries of congressional districts are in the hands of politicians, and the majority of the party in the state house has more or less carte blanche to manipulated these boundaries as they see fit.  In most democracies, this is handled by an independent commission to avoid just this kind of silliness.  When left in the hands of politicians, I can see how the temptation to gerrymander is too great to...

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Jewish Tourism, or, I never cared very much for the Holocaust – Part V

As we leave, the journalist in me wants to know how Victor felt about all this. How his students felt who did the March of Death the week before. I ask Loreta to ask him. His response is bland and avoids the “feeling” question. I ask this question a few times and each time he says nothing. I tell Loreta, insistently and in a very American Jew pushy way she later chides me about, what do the children feel? The Victor finally relents and says “They feel pity for the Jews and anger at the Germans; they feel pity...

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Jewish Tourism, or, I never cared very much for the Holocaust – Part IV

Part of Jewish tourism is trying to find or generate the appropriate emotions—sadness, nostalgia, horror, or despair. It was hard for me to do any of this in such a location. The grumpy farmer, the silent high-school teacher, the stolid guide. We turn around and trudge back from the site. As we walk I try to talk with the farmer, but it’s impossible to communicate since neither of us speaks the other’s language. I ask Loreta to thank him for showing me the beautiful farm and the cemetery. I’m not sure what she says, but he doesn’t seem to...

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Life in Dallas by Helen Gutowski

This tenth installment features our first poem by a millennial artist, and the first poem that Helen Gutowski publicly performed.  To give you some context, it was written in the summer of 2007; she was 16.  Fiercely precise in its rap-like rhymes and tempo, Gutowski’s poem enacts an era she describes as “youthful reckless abandon.” This poem recalls the pleasures of risk and rebellion, the lucky free falls that propel us into the future.        *** Life in Dallas A red ’91 Toyota Corolla, four door With more character than I could ever hope to have. Dallas,...

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The Halifax Explosions?

The Canadian Football League has long sought to add a 10th team in the Maritimes.  To do so would be to make the CFL actually national.  But, the CFL has also had to deal with some serious instability with its franchises in Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa, especially, over the past 30 years.  Ottawa is currently on its third (as far as I can count) franchise since the 1980s.  The Rough Riders folded in 1996.  They were replaced by Ottawa Renegades; this franchise only lasted from 2002 to 2006.  Currently, the REDBLACKS play in the nation’s capital.  Meanwhile, down the...

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