January 4th, 2009


My general position on most Israel/Palestine conflict

If anyone's interested:

* I like peace. A lot. I dislike death, injury, and any situation in which innocent people cannot live safely and healthily.

* There are lots of innocent people in both Israel and Palestine.

* As far as I can tell, Israel and Palestine as national entities are both being idiots, each spending time during "cease fires" doing things in bad faith with the immediate or eventual goal of harming the other.

* Lots of friends of mine disagree with half of the above statement. They're all more intelligent and much more informed about this situation than I am. And they're all right, whichever side they're on.

* I'm an easily persuaded person in general; especially so with issues I'm much less informed about than the person trying to persuade me is. When I get into discussions about this issue, I almost always come out agreeing with whoever spoke last.

* Israel is much less important to my life than it is to most of the people I'm in Jewish communities with. I don't think Israel, as a land or a modern state (rather than as a concept or a history or a people), is particularly important to my life as an American Jew. And most of the individuals I know personally in Israel are both there temporarily and out of harm's way. (I worry about the rest, but I have fewer such people I know than most of my friends do.) I have even less invested personally in Palestine; I don't know anyone there at all.

* Therefore, I choose to stay relatively poorly informed about the issues going on in the region. Short term, I plan to continue to be persuadable about the issues, but long term, I plan to continue to stake out this moderate and apathetic stance. Frankly, there are other issues I care about more. How about the awesome poverty situation here in the country I live in?

* The one thing I'm sure about is that any opinion on the Middle East issues that disregards nuance and subtlety is automatically wrong.

Clear? Cool. Any questions?

Eagles/Vikings prediction

Back in the 2000 season, the Baltimore Ravens had one of the 3 best defenses of my lifetime. Before each game, their defensive captain Ray Lewis would tell the offense how many points they needed. If the offense would score that many points, and there weren't any points from the opponennts on defense or special teams, then Lewis would guarantee a win. This Eagles defense isn't in the same conversation as that Ravens one in terms of best ever, but they do have the capability to control a game in the same way.

I think the Eagles need 13 today to have a great shot at a win, and 17 to guarantee one. And I think they'll get it. With the Vikings defensive star out, I'm calling it 19-13 Eagles. Eagles' offense can't quite get into the end zone after an early score, but aside from a first-half breakway run, their defense doesn't allow the Vikings to gain many yards at all. And Akers wins it.

EDIT: Throw away a defensive touchdown, and I was one point off. 26-14. Not bad. Let's try again next week.