Last Christmas Present, Worldly Updates, Hamas Preview

Mad props out to goodguyseatpie tonight, and a note to self to check my department mail more often. The thoughtful fellow went and sprang for a gift membership in the Union of Concerned Scientists. Going by the date on the envelope I assume this is intended as a Christmas present. Many thanks, friend.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that means he thinks I should talk about global warming more often. I think I've got a request on that front from Connor, too, from a while back. Other suggestions, leave 'em under the question of the week, below.

I forgot to mention, I will in the future be crossing Michigan off my states-I-haven't-visited list as a result of the Movie Marathon trip. While we didn't actually stop in any cities, I got in a most enjoyable pre-dawn drive through its snowy western bits on the way back. It's fair to assume I'll be back, and will actually interact with people the next time, so it's not cheating all that badly.

Passing on miscellaneous other stuff of interest...

Via 3quarksdaily, Donate to the NYU strike hardship fund! (Lots of background links there, too.) Now that the new term's begun, most of the grad students have returned to the picket line, and the administration has carried through on its threat to "terminate the fellowships" of strikers. Which may be the best euphemism I've ever heard for "fire their asses," once again oh-so-cleverly suggesting that teaching isn't work if you're a grad student.

Or more precisely, that grad students are just moochers who get paid to live out of the goodness of the trustees' hearts. Moochers who just happen to spend every waking hour teaching classes out of the goodness of their hearts. Completely unconnected to the money, as it happens. Anyhow, not being a Ph.D. student, my sister is kind of only peripherally affected by all this, except insofar as she's currently working as an adjunct, which is exactly the kind of slave labor the NYU administration is trying to turn the grad students into.

Big story of yesterday was that Canada lurched suddenly to the right, in a metaphysical vindication of all things Bush. Except that that's, you know, completely wrong. Via LGM, a decent overview of what actually happened, which turns out to be not much.

The big news for today, of course, is the Palestinian elections, which Hamas didn't win by a startlingly small margin. More on that as things unfold over the coming weeks, but it's safe to say that this will get interesting.

[Update: 26 Jan, 8 AM] The situation has evolved considerably over the past few hours; preliminary vote counts now indicate that Hamas has narrowly won an absolute majority in the Palestinian parliament, meaning that it will form the next government. This may or may not be a bad thing, ultimately, as it is widely believed that participation in governance has a moderating effect on extremist groups. I offer the following quote from the above-linked article (updated many times overnight), for instance:

As news of the results started to trickle in, Hamas senior officials began outlining the organization's policy as the ruling Palestinian faction. Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar told Al-Arabiya television it was possible for Hamas to sign an accord with Israel without recognizing its right to exist.

According to al-Zahar, a diplomatic-security-economic accord can be reached between the parties based on a "hudna" (truce) as part of which the Palestinians would agree to establish a state on the territory they are given.

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This page contains a single entry by Milligan published on January 25, 2006 7:45 PM.

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