Charge for Animals

Almost everyone seems to have “cash back” credit cards now, whether you get straight money or credit at a particular vendor or service provider. Now you can have a percentage of your credit cards charges go to supporting animal shelters and humane societies through AnimalSafe. I haven’t explored the details of the cards or the organization behind them, but it seems like a convenient way to direct some money to a good cause.

Grad school not the only corporation….

What I like best about this NYTimes Magazine article on the unionization of UPenn graduate students is the part where union organizers say they solicited support at a funeral. Given the advance press time on the magazine section, the article is able to allude to the Yale organizing strategy of holding a non-NLRB vote to demonstrate the desire for a grad union, but couldn’t include the fact that it turned out Yale grad students didn’t want a union. (Of course, their only mention of Cornell was as the recipient of advice on how to resist a union which the university … Continue reading Grad school not the only corporation….

Why We Didn’t Unionize Revisited

A couple of months ago Vicky from U.S. News and World Report called me up, and I nearly hung up on her, having no interest in subscribing and a general loathing of telemarkers. Good thing I was sleepy and slow on the receiver – with their annual Graduate School Rankings issue came a renewed interest in Cornell grad students’ choice not to form a union last year. The first two paragraphs of the article are online, or you can stop by your local newsstand, flip to p. 66 of America’s Best Graduate Schools 2004 and check out their presentation of … Continue reading Why We Didn’t Unionize Revisited

Shock & Awe

The much-referenced 1996 book Shock & Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance by Ullman and Wade out of the National Defense University is available on-line. I’ve only had a chance to skim it, but it seems worth a closer look. I find it particularly interesting (beyond the obvious reasons) because it’s written as a proposal which remains to be tested and lays out what evaluations remained to be done, and what fundamental changes in military organization and training they believed needed to be made for their strategy to be effective.

Kuwait Photos

I’m not sure how a freelance photographer working in Kuwait manages to maintain a website of photos from the past few days, but its interesting viewing.

Imperative to Rebuild

It’s pretty clear that everyone has had their minds made up about this war for a while, and we’ve now reached the “talking-past-each-other” phase of debate, but we’ve also reached a point where our options are fairly narrow. I’m upset that events have proceeded such that the only moral thing I think the US has left to do is completely demolish the Iraqi government, but seeing the destruction and chaos, we’ve pretty much guaranteed misery and suffering for the people there if we don’t manage to get our own food and aid into the country. I think that humanitarian concerns … Continue reading Imperative to Rebuild

Catching Trademark Infringement

I was slightly bothered by the article Faked Out: Looking for counterfeit goods, sheriff’s deputies go bargain hunting [via PCJM] and I’m not sure if it’s due to poor writing or poor policework. The article describes the efforts of police to track counterfeiting of brand-name goods, particularly clothes. But there are also many descriptions of ways in which items can be slightly altered to appear to be an original while not quite being trademark infringement. And it is very unclear in the article about what types of items the police are buying and trying to eliminate. Because if you’re really … Continue reading Catching Trademark Infringement

Overzealous Security?

Who doesn’t love a heart-warming story of overzealous mall security guards? Oh, I’m sure the mall will come out with a statement explaining that the men were being disruptive, and malls are certainly private property, but it behooves us all to remember that “fake police” (or the mall/campus/private security guard nature) can in practice get you arrested nice and quick if they like. I know someone who was stopped and had their camera confiscated recently for taking pictures of the outside of the Cornell greenhouses because they contain fertilizer, which has that whole bomb-making connection. Harassment of our citizens is … Continue reading Overzealous Security?

Idealized Courtship

I’m a Miss Manner’s fan, and it is surely poor manners to admit that my favorite bits are when she repremands the “etiquette police” for their own poor manners. But last weekend she wrote a wonderful editorial about nostalgia and idealization of old-fashioned courtship in which she comments on why 50’s style dating disappeared. She says: Dating was universal in theory, but not in practice, leaving plenty of people lonely, if not ashamed, for lack of Saturday night alternatives. The presumption that a date was the only natural way in which the sexes could mix put a damper on nonromantic … Continue reading Idealized Courtship

TIA on Hold

Because it’s good to focus on the positive as well as the negative: Conferees in Congress Bar Using a Pentagon Project on Americans, and Total Information Awareness is on hold until the privacy and civil liberties impact can be more thoroughly examined.