It's never easy for two sides to reach consensus. Statements on Deal to End Government Shutdown [Excerpt] by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Ft. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell)

Of course it’s not easy for two opposing sides to reach agreement, but this is something that’s been done 91 times since 1940. You’d think they’d be able to figure it out by now.

Whether or not the debt ceiling should be raised is not the point here. What’s important is that something gets done and it gets done through reasonable talks and within a decent time frame. Unfortunately, this has been historically difficult for the 112th Congress.

Fun fact: Under which president was the debt-ceiling raised the most times?

The Gipper

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Today they will also see Congress reach a historic bipartisan agreement Statements on Deal to End Government Shutdown [Excerpt] by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Ft. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell)

We spilled the milk, sure, but did you see us clean it up? Helluva performance if you ask me.

Nothing surprising here, but calling this a “historic bipartisan agreement” is quite the spin. In fact, this agreement prevented an historic bipartisan occurrence: allowing the U.S. to default on its debt (which is primarily owed to the American people).

This is all familiar though:

  • Nearly the exact same thing happened in 2011. The House Republicans held the budget ransom to gain some leverage, and it largely worked. Credit rating downgrade, but U.S. default averted
  • The U.S. hit the debt ceiling again in December of 2012. Obama negotiated and the “fiscal cliff was avoided, but no deal was made to raise the debt ceiling.
  • In response to no solution being found, the U.S. Treasury began taking “extraordinary measures” that bought us time up until October of 2013 to avoid default.
  • Knowing that the government was in trouble, the House again used the debt ceiling as ransom. This time to defund Obamacare.

So yeah, thank you Congress, for doing what you’re supposed to do, but in the most difficult and harmful way possible.

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I call upon all of you to wage a second American non-violent revolution, Call for Revolution Against Obama by Larry Klayman

There’s never been a “non-violent revolution” in America, so when Klayman says a “second American non-violent revolution,” what he is doing is calling for another American Revolution, but qualifying with “non-violent” so that he can’t be held culpable for riling up the people.

The ultra-Conservative right has gone above and beyond in referencing the American Revolution since Obama came into office, even going so far as to name themselves after the Boston Tea Party. This is a great tactic because it makes people forget that the Revolution was fought against a tyrannical Monarchy, and we live in a country that allows you to vote out a President after four years if you don’t like him, which Republicans failed to do. Suck it up…

A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they’re dead.

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And I know because I represent some of the families. And I feel personally involved. Call for Revolution Against Obama by Larry Klayman

Actually, Klayman doesn’t know shit. Considering Afghanistan has marked one of the U.S.’s longest wars ever, we have had remarkably low numbers of casualties.

Only about 1,800 soldiers have died in combat over those 12 years. It’s literally the lowest casualty total for any major war lasting more than 4 years that we’ve been involved with since, like, the 1785-95 Northwest Indian War.

The real problem with Afghanistan is the number of soldiers who come back disabled (over 18,000 in 12 years) and suffering from mental illness. 1.3 million veterans are without health care insurance, and the GOP would like to keep it that way apparently.

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Allow me, since it is the third day of our vacation, to relate to you a remarkable dream, which is connected with the history of our family. On the Commonwealth (De Republica) - The Dream of Scipio (Book VI) by Marcus Tullius Cicero

The Scipio clan was one of the most prestigious families in all of ancient Rome. A number of the patricians had served as consul over the few centuries of the Republic.

The reason why this dream is so connected with family history is due to the fact that Scipio Aemilianus’s grandfather, Scipio Africanus was the General who presided over Rome’s victory in the Second Punic War, in which the greatest military leaders in history, Hannibal of Carthage, was defeated.

Hannibal’s army, famous for their calvary Elephants.

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[Scipio] On the Commonwealth (De Republica) - The Dream of Scipio (Book VI) by Marcus Tullius Cicero

Scipio Aemilianus was a Roman Consul and General during the 2nd-century B.C. who died just a few decades before Cicero’s time. Although he made major moves in Spanish Gaul, and ended up being elected Consul before he was even at the required age, Scipio Aemilianus is inextricably linked to the destruction of Carthage.

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Analysis of DNA samples has shown that on the female line, the Ashkenazim are descended not from the Near East but from southern and western Europe DNA Research Sheds Light On Ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews by Science Daily

As might be expected from the autosomal picture, Y-chromosome studies generally show the opposite trend to mtDNA (with a predominantly Near Eastern source) with the exception of the large fraction of European ancestry seen in Ashkenazi Levites. (Discussion, 5th paragraph)

In other words, while mitochondrial DNA (passed down by mothers) has shown a very deeply rooted European ancestry among Jews, Y-chromosome analysis (passed down by fathers) has shown comparable ancestral origins in the Levant. From here, this political question is further clouded by the power of science, i.e. what % of your DNA must you share with a group of people to constitute “origin”, and where do we draw the line as far as commonly occurring population shifts?

So no, the question has not been answered, but we can now confirm that there was a large-scale conversion of non-Jewish women to Judaism, possibly during the Hellenistic period of mass-proselytizing, which had previously been suggested by historian Shlomo Sand.

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A new article in the leading journal Nature Communications claims to have settled the question. DNA Research Sheds Light On Ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews by Science Daily

Of course, this is pure sensationalism. As previously mentioned, the applicable scientific methods in finding a definitive answer to this debate are rapidly evolving at the moment, but can not provide a clear picture yet.

More importantly, a crucial piece within the discussion of this research was left out:

With sufficient resolution, a detailed genealogical history for every maternal lineage in the Ashkenazim is now within reach; in fact, it should soon be possible to reconstruct the outlines of the entire dispersal history of each community. (last paragraph)

Notice the implicit acknowledgment here that these results are tentative, and by no means should be taken as a definitive conclusion. The good news is that more is sure to come of future results.

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Are they principally descended from forbears who migrated from Palestine in the first century AD? Or were their ancestors Europeans who converted to Judaism? DNA Research Sheds Light On Ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews by Science Daily

The hard science behind these questions is still very new. A more practical question to ask might be why these questions are at all significant, and how has it traditionally been looked at:

  • The significance of these questions is based primarily on the highly politicized question of whether Jews are a religious group or an ethnic group. More specifically, it rests on the opposing viewpoints of Jewish emancipation vs. assimilation.

This is an important distinction in the Jewish mythology, as the former would imply a strong nationalistic element within the Diaspora, and the yearning for a united Jewish nation. The latter would lend credence to the view that various Jewish populations left their homeland willingly over hundreds of years in search for better prospects, and assimilated into other societies accordingly.

As mainstream Jewish scholarship emerged after the Enlightenment, historian David Gans made use of historical dissemination in providing:

…householders like myself overburdened with everyday worries, with a tale to lighten their load.

This idea would later give rise to the classic Scholem/Kurzweil debate among modern Jewish scholars regarding whether or not historical veracity should be valued more than the nationalistic connection that may be nurtured by Jewish historiography, regardless of its relative accuracy.

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Until you generate cash, you must heed investors even when they are wrong. Cash Flow and Destiny by B Horowitz 2

For the most part, people don’t decide to up and create something simply because they need to make money. In fact, if an individual is really strapped for cash, it’s all the more likely that they won’t be starting up a business anytime soon, especially considering the measly 12% success rate for first-time entrepreneurs.

Although generating revenue is rarely the ultimate goal for a young tech entrepreneur, there’s no way to get past the fact that you need capital to grow. The point here isn’t that entrepreneurs must kiss ass in order to succeed, or even that cash is, above all and always, king. The real wisdom here lays in the idea that:

To succeed on your own terms, you must find that balance between your entrepreneurial freedom and the patience of your investors.

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