Hospitals, Synagogues, and Walls: Italy, Weekend (Florence)

We slept in, missing morning services at the synagogue, but planned to attend mincha and Havdalah. (The most devout Jews pray three times a day: morning, afternoon, and evening. Havdalah is the ceremony that ends Shabbat and returns us to the world of the secular.) We walked around, with no particular goal. Around the corner […]

Art Encounters @ The Uffizi: Italy, Day 4 (Florence)

Welcome to the fourth installment of my adventures in Italy, covering day four. The series starts here. I’ll be blunt. The Uffizi Gallery is one of the great art museums of the world. But it was not a great experience. It was very, very crowded. And this is the off-season. Far be it from me […]

Something New (and a quest): Italy, Day 3 (Rome)

Welcome to the third episode of my journal of my recent trip to Italy, covering day 3. Here’s day one, in which we looked at Roman frescos, mosaics, and statuary at the wonderful Palazzo Massimo. And here’s day two, a walking tour of Rome and a visit to monuments ancient, Baroque, and modern. Think of sightseeing […]

Architecture Across the Eras: Italy, Day 2 (Rome)

Welcome to the second episode of my journal of my recent trip to Italy, covering day 2. Here’s day one, in which we looked at Roman frescos, mosaics, and statuary at the wonderful Palazzo Massimo. In Buenos Aires, we booked a set of tours advertised on AirBnB and really enjoyed them (after the first one, […]

Ancient Interiors: Italy, Arrival and Day 1 (Rome)

Writing about Italy is a cliché, and I certainly cannot compare to the great travelers of the past. Yet, the place still fascinates. I am hoping that my perspective, a combination of observations with some practical advice, will be interesting and useful. I am possessed with a desire to see and do everything. But time […]

Feeling Numbers

I’m not good at math (or maybe I am but never worked at it), I sort of stopped trying somewhere around algebra. But I am good at arithmetic. I can do addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, decimals, fractions, and percentages in my head fairly quickly and accurately. I even enjoy it. When running on […]

Attention Deficit: U.S. and Latin America

At the International Political Science Association World Congress, held in the beautiful and fascinating city of Buenos Aires (a few pics below), one term I heard a lot, lot, lot is hegemony. That’s because Latin America has been under U.S. hegemony for quite a long time. Our military hegemony is unquestioned – although of limited […]

Iraq 20 years later: Humbled and Conflicted

I thought, at the time, that invading Iraq and overthrowing Saddam was the right thing to do and a good idea. The extent to which I was wrong, absolutely wrong, leaves me, two decades later, humbled and also conflicted. With that, I thought I’d share a few thoughts. I knew some of the people who […]

A Sorting Hat for National Security Advisors

In an attempt to keep my class on American Foreign Policy Process relevant to the youths, I ask them to apply a sorting hat to National Security Advisors. The sorting hat is the magical device from the world of Harry Potter that tells wizards arriving at Hogwarts which House suits them. I blatantly stole the […]

Social Science Revolution at the White House

Generally the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is not the focus of much public attention. If you are in science world, of course it is pretty important (full disclosure, in my day job I get to interact with them, very occasionally), but much of what they do (even during COVID) is […]