Will the Inauguration Be Disrupted by Rioters?

After the deadly riots at the Capitol Building on January 6th, Americans are on edge waiting to see if Biden’s inauguration will go down without any disruptions. More at Vox.

The third-largest Jewish community in America is living in imminent danger of domestic terrorism. Washington, D.C., the city I call home, is in lockdown: a state of emergency has been declared in advance of President-elect Joe Biden’s Wednesday inauguration, and over 25,000 troops have moved in.

My sense is the safety is going to be fine, with an extended perimeter, but I think a lot of us fear that some level of violence may still happen. You never can be completely sure, so you just say your prayers and keep your fingers crossed.

Organized in Facebook groups and other online forums, the Jan. 6 riot was a wake-up call — for Silicon Valley, government officials and the public — that even euphemistic or ambiguous comments made online can fuel real-world violence. Now, tech companies are on high alert. In the days following the insurrection, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other major platforms have imposed stricter measures and deployed new rationales for taking action.

Should the Minimum Wage Be Raised to $15?

One of Joe Biden’s policy proposals involves raising the national minimum wage to $15 per hour. Critics say that this is the last thing America needs during an unemployment crisis. More at The Hill.

It’s true that once upon a time there was a near-consensus among economists that minimum wages substantially reduced employment. But that was long ago. These days only a minority of economists think raising the minimum to $15 would have large employment costs, and a strong plurality believe that a significant rise — although maybe not all the way to $15 — would be a good idea.

The $15 federal minimum wage proposal has all sorts of obvious problems that conservatives have criticized for years. For starters, doubling the amount of the minimum wage would create devastating inflation in cheaper states, an effect that would be compounded by the Federal Reserve’s commitment to keeping interest rates close to zero, while doing next to nothing for states like California.

Of course, a minimum wage increase (the first at the federal level since 2009) only helps if you have a job. But it is the unemployed who are suffering during this pandemic. For people fortunate enough to have a job, wages have generally increased.

What’s Inside of Trump’s 1776 Report?

As a response to the New York Time’s 1619 Project, President Trump commissioned the “1776 Report.” This patriotic retelling of history was designed to defend America’s founding values against progressive views of American history which, according to the report, engender in students “at the very least disdain and at worst outright hatred for this country.”

Written partly in response to the New York Times’s “1619 Project,” which wrote history from the perspective of the enslaved, the 45-page report is a fable told by conservative non-historians that indicts identity politics and progressivism and is one last way to rally Trump’s base and troll his opponents.

It’s hardly an ed­i­fy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence when pro­fes­sors al­ways em­pha­size the bad, al­ways ex­pose and de­con-struct, or al­ways trace the “dy­nam-ics” of power and iden­tity, rather than striv­ing to un­der­stand Amer­i­ca’s his­tor­i­cal ac­tors as they un­der­stood them­selves. Pres­i­dent Trump cre­ated the 1776 Com­mis­sion to pro­mote what he called “pa­tri­otic ed­u­ca­tion.” That isn’t the term the com­mis­sion would have cho­sen, but the fact re­mains that in­still­ing un­der­stand-ing, rather than ha­tred, of one’s coun­try is a core pur­pose of ed­u­ca­tion.

Yet the vision of civics put forth by this report—a collection of historical half-truths and blindly patriotic propaganda—is a better fit for a dictatorship than for a democracy. Lurking behind its stated goal of wholesome national pride are calculated attacks on any historians and educators that dare to complicate and expand the story of this country.

Pompeo Is Condemning China’s “Genocide.” Why Now?

With only one day left in President Trump’s term, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called out China’s brutal treatment of the country’s Uighur Muslim minority, designating their policies as genocidal. More at NPR.

We welcome this important designation by @StateDept. The Uighur people have suffered unspeakable oppression at the hands of the Chinese gov & we strongly urge the incoming US Admin to enact appropriate measures against those responsible for the genocide.

…by making this move just one day before Biden is sworn into office, Pompeo has taken the decision out of the president-elect’s hands and set the incoming administration up for a rocky start to its relations with China.

Mr. Pompeo was at the fore of the Trump administration’s crackdown on China… That was especially the case for China, as Mr. Pompeo emerged as the administration’s most vocal critic of Beijing. He took every opportunity to highlight China’s human rights abuses of Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities and, as a parting shot, he is now considering whether to declare them acts of genocide.

Brady VS Rodgers: Who Is the Greatest of All Time?

This Sunday, sports fans are eagerly awaiting the match up of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers go up against the Green Bay Packers. Will this game determine which player earns the coveted status of GOAT—greatest of all time?

The argument between them is one of success vs. aesthetics. Brady is unassailable in pretty much every category that signifies winning. He’s won six Super Bowls (Rodgers has won one), and Sunday will be Brady’s 14th conference championship game (Rodgers has played in four). Rodgers, for his part, bests Brady in a bunch of quarterbacking metrics: passer rating, adjusted net yards per pass attempt, interception percentage.

It’s an imperfect comparison, but if Brady is Michael Jordan, then Rodgers, as good as he is, is not even LeBron James. In some alternate reality, Rodgers could have been Brady with the right coaching, teammates and system around him. But we don’t live in that reality, and the circumstances favor Brady even if that’s unfair to Rodgers.

Brady is football’s Benjamin Button, aging in reverse, denying himself onion rings and chocolate cake and extending a playing career well past the standard expiration. Brady is in his 21st season, and next Sunday’s NFC Championship versus the Green Bay Packers will be the 14th conference title game he’s played in, a ridiculous rate of success. He and the Bucs will face the talented Packers sprite Aaron Rodgers, who is 37 years old, or, as Brady calls it, midcareer.

What’s New in Jewish Thought?

Why should Orthodox Rabbis work with other denominations? Why are secular Israelis obsessed with traditional Judaism? How has antisemitism shaped Jewish identity?

Among the leaders of Orthodox Judaism today, there are too many who perceive any engagement with non-Orthodox religious leaders as sinful and dangerous. This is based on an outdated strategy, from a very different time in the history of American Orthodoxy.

This is what I got from a lot of readers in Israel. They read the Hebrew version of “The Wondering Jew,” and I spoke there about their sources of secular identity, like the founding fathers of secular identity: Ahad Ha’am, Bialik, Gordon … they thought that the deepest secular identity is a kind of secularism that is inspired by Jewish tradition. And it’s connected intimately to Jewish tradition. But it’s not controlled by Jewish tradition. It’s connected to our past but not controlled by our past.

Daily hope for a better world is expressed in the Alenu prayer — that “the world will be mended through the kingdom of heaven”.

In the face of an irrational hatred with no cure, Jews sought identity and purpose in the idealism of their rabbinic forebears and the universal vision of the Hebrew prophets: to narrow the gap between rich and poor, to seek harmony among nations, and worldwide social justice.

Today’s Hot Issues

Will the Inauguration Be Disrupted by Rioters? Should the Minimum Wage Be Raised to $15? What’s Inside of Trump’s 1776 Report? Pompeo Is Condemning China’s “Genocide.” Why Now? Brady VS Rodgers: Who Is the Greatest of All Time? What’s New in Jewish Thought?