Daylight Savings Time and the Oil Embargo

In about 1974, the U.S. Congress mandated that the entire country remain on a daylight savings clock all year long. The oil producing countries (OPEC) were holding back petroleum exports to the U.S. By retaining daylight savings time in the winter, our basic work and school days occurred during daylight hours. Offices didn’t need to turn on lights during the last hour or so of the 9-5 workday. Presumably, using less electricity during daylight savings time would reduce usage of petroleum.

K-12 schools were in session during daylight hours. However, people discovered that children were heading off to school while it was still dark. Young people who had after-school activities were also coming home in the dark. As a safety matter, parents didn’t like the idea that their children were between home and school in the dark. Parents who would not let their children ride bicycles at night found that they were in a position to decide whether the youngsters would take bicycles to and from school.

After one winter, Congress resumed the previous winter clock of standard time. Youngsters, for the most part, were again outside during daylight hours.

To cite examples for the northern tier of states, the sun rises in December, January, and February at about 7 – 7:15 AM. In terms of daylight savings time, the sun rises between 8 and 8:15 AM.

At the same time, in most of the southernmost states, the sun rises in December, January, and February at about 7 AM. In terms of daylight savings time, the sun rises a little before 8 AM except in January when the average is about 8:15 AM.

However, on Florida’s panhandle (in the eastern time zone) the winter sunrise is around 7:30 AM – 8:30 AM daylight time. A legislative discussion in Florida has been to enact daylight savings time all year long. As such, youngsters in Tallahassee, the state capital, would be heading to school in the dark during the winter.

It seems that legislators in Florida do not have the experience of winter 1974 at their fingertips. Some hadn’t yet been born; others wouldn’t remember, of course.

Only Southern California seems to have an advantage over most other populous regions of the country by about fifteen minutes, though.

Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.


The United States May Really Move Its Embassy to Jerusalem

A U.S. Department of State spokesperson announced on February 23rd, according to The Washington Post, that the United States will move its embassy to Jerusalem in May 2018.

You can view this article in The Washington Post, “National Security,” February 23rd, 2018.

Also, see the actual press statement from the U.S. State Department.

My earlier post expressed skepticism about a move of the embassy to Israel’s capital city.

Waiting to see …


Radio talk host Alex Jones is confused about what a burqa is and what a hijab is.

If there is a Muslim woman in North America or in Europe who has her face covered by a burqa – a full covering except for her eyes – she is unique. Essentially, a burqa covering is so extreme that it is not even worn in Saudi Arabia or in Iran.

If a Christian nun is still wearing a habit, she is probably covering her neck and ears in addition to her hair just like many Muslim women. This is called a hijab in Arabic.

A somewhat more conservative head covering than a hijab is a niqab. A woman wraps longer fabric over her mouth and nostrils (sometimes a little higher on the nose).

I almost dressed like that today when I went outside. Here in Kansas City, the midday temperature (as I write this) is 18° (Fahrenheit). Besides a ski cap over my ears, I would have covered even my my mouth. But, for this former Chicagoan, 18° and no wind is fine.

The temperature now in Chicago, though, is 12°. If I were standing on an El platform waiting for a train, it’s not unlikely for me to pull up my scarf over my mouth. Some platforms – especially where I used to commute from – are entirely exposed to bitterly cold wind. So at times I protect my face with a ‘niqab’.

How do I know what I’m talking about? I would often sit in a study area at the University of Missouri – Kansas City that was popular with Muslim young people. So, I checked that what the young women were wearing were hijabs.

One time I was sitting across from a young lady who was wearing a hijab, and I asked her what a niqab was. She lifted a longer end of her hijab over her mouth thereby showing me a niqab. So I speak with authority.

Interestingly enough, it came up in conversation that she was from Saudi Arabia. In my nosy way, I told her that I was surprised to see that she was alone. In truth, she told me that she had come with a brother, but he had already finished his studies and had returned to Saudi Arabia. “My parents trust me,” she said. “It would be sad if they didn’t.”

I believe that G-d trusts us. It would be sad if he didn’t.


* I sometimes listen to Alex Jones (carried on radio here) so that you don’t have to. It’s possible that he will be my bête noire for March.

* a study area that was popular with young Muslims. The women wearing hijabs is one give-away. The other clue was that several were speaking Arabic. I don’t speak Arabic, but I recognize it. I can be an amateur linguist since I’ve heard plenty of Arabic in Israel.

The ‘Two State Solution’ Died in 1949

The idea of an independent Palestinian state west of the Jordan River died when the Arab Legion invaded the West Bank in 1948. The land westward from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean was supposed to be divided into two states. One would be a Jewish state and the other would be an Arab state for those who were living there.

War was out of the question. The United Nations’ plan included the directive that both states would engage in economic cooperation – actually an Economic Union.

This plan was the United Nations Partition Plan for when Britain left the region. The plan arguably had the status of international law. The Security Council’s resolution concerned Britain. It set forth how the region that was mandated to the British to administer would look like when the British left. Britain tried (arguably) to set up the partition and to establish the outcome.

However, the Arab Legion violated this international law when it attacked Israel. Then, the Kingdom of Jordan annexed the West Bank – a new violation of international law.

The international community had helped Israel and Jordan negotiate an armistice in 1949. Since both sides agreed, the cease fire had the force of international law also.

The next time that the parties reached an agreement – negotiated by outsiders – was in 1993 through 1995. This was the Oslo Accords. These accords, which were signed by representatives of the Palestinians and of Israel, is the last word of international law.

UN resolutions passed by its Security Council arguably do not have the force of law. The United Nations is fulfilling its obligation to promote peace and security. It’s not unusual for effective parties to disdain peace and security.

Another event bears discussing. The International Court of Justice – commonly referred to as the World Court – is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. However, it tries to resolve disputes wherein both parties agree to appear. It is out of the question for the Court to rule unilaterally.

To repeat. The Oslo Accords are the only agreement, the only law between Palestinians and Israel.

Palestinians cannot justifiably complain that they are living in cantons. Their representative signed off on this.

They have a right and obligation to regulate life in what are called Areas A and B. Only Israel has the right to regulate life and to develop new housing, industry, and parks in Area C.

If Palestinians wished to pick up where things stood in the middle 2000s everything could go back onto the negotiating table.

However, this is so unlikely that I can relax, heat up some water, and relax drinking hot tea with sugar. The ‘Two State Solution’ is dead.

Ashkenazi Jews and their long-ago European mothers

If this is true, it doesn’t matter.

Being Jewish is being a member of G-d’s Covenant at Mount Sinai. Over the centuries, some women and men said, in effect, “Count me in,” and so they became members of the Covenant by observing its specifics and generalities.

If a genetic study reaches the conclusion that many European women converted, it is consistent with what we know of Roman history.

A history of Jews in the Roman Empire

Until the end of the first century CE, Judaism was the only monotheistic religion. Non-Jews worshiped a pantheon of gods. Some worshiped the god of their own city-state but not the god of any other city-state.

People of the Roman Empire were supposed to worship a statue of the emperor as well as any other god that they chose. The Emperor Hadrian was especially diligent in dedicating statues of himself all over the eastern part of the empire. His was particularly fond of the Greek culture and “Greek love” — pederasty.

We find evidence that non-Jews spent time around and in synagogues. These people have been called G-dfearers and Phylo-Jews — Jew lovers. It’s not so much that they liked Jews as such. They liked the religion of Jews. These G-dfearers were a pool of prospective converts. The “fly in the ointment,” the drawback, for men to convert was that they would be undergoing circumcision. I’m under the impression that adult circumcision is painful and takes a while to heal. It is speculated that not many adult men converted, but women did.

Some of the female converts probably married Jewish men. Perhaps some Phylo-Jews circumcised their sons in hope that these boys would convert. Who knows? And no one knows the numbers.

Perhaps as population genetics improve, studies of Jewish genetics may provide fine grain statistics for reconstructing theories.

Regardless of some of the previous details and the associated speculation, historians have long suggested that about ten percent of the population of the Roman Empire was Jewish. Recent reevaluations are suggesting a smaller Jewish population. But, imagine that the U.S. had a Jewish population of 38 million, or that 19 million Jews lived in the U.S. These figures are about 10 percent 5 percent respectively.

So now back to Rome. However many Jews lived within the Roman Empire, they were not evenly spread out. The largest concentration of Jews seems to have been on the Italian peninsula and in Rome itself. Many Jews did not relocate voluntarily. When the Roman Legions destroyed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem (69 CE), and when they destroyed the city of Jerusalem (about 135 CE), Jewish captives were taken to slave markets. As defeated captives, they were paraded through the streets of Rome.

Christian Rome

After Christianity became the official religion of of the Roman Empire (4th century CE), conversion to Judaism was punishable by death. However many European women (and men) had affiliated with the Jewish people before this, no more converted.

In time, Roman Jews (from Rome and Italy) found opportunities northward, over the Alps into the Rhine River valley and also in Roman Gaul. These Jews were the forebears of Ashkenazi Jews. A particular regional identity did not start to develop, though, until Charlemagne’s power reached from the Elbe River in today’s Germany, south and west to the Pyrenees Mountains, and southward to encompass all of Italy. This is the core of the Western Roman Empire, and this is the spiritual birthplace of Ashkenazi customs and their heritage of studying the Bible and the Talmud..

Jews in this region primarily had spoken Vulgar Latin — the language of their neighbors. Charlemagne’s Empire, the Carolingian Empire, brought Germanic speakers into the region from the east and northeast. The legal and language frontier along the Rhine River supplied the core population of Ashkenazi Jews.

Ashkenaz — Germanic Europe

I’m not aware of the reference ‘Ashkenazi’ appearing before the year 1000 or so. The earliest usage referred to the Jews of the Rhine River region and the locality of Charlemagne’s preferred seat of power in Aix-la-Chapelle/Aachen, only a short distance west of the Rhine. It is no surprise that Ashkenazi Jews would come to speak Yiddish —  Jewish German.

This first usage came about when two distinguished Jewish families from Italy crossed the Alps and settled near the Carolingian seat of power around the year 900 (or so).

We find a dichotomy here, though. The spiritual roots of Ashkenaz were in two Jewish cultural and scholarship areas. The guiding spirit of Ashkenazi Jews came from Italy. For the most part, Italian Jews remained in Italy, though.

The much of intellectual ferment of Ashkenaz came from the Torah academies in southern France. Again, for the most part, these Jews remained near the Mediterranean.

Work in progress -- nearing conclusion.


Five Global Empires

The five global empires that I’m writing about are the permanent members of the United Nation’s Security Council.

Three have surrounded themselves with their colonies, and two have had overseas colonies.

France and Britain

France and Britain had overseas colonies, the conventional type where it’s obvious that the national aspiration is to extract the wealth of raw materials from the colonies and then to render the colonies entirely dependent on the colonial power for finished goods, often basic ones.

The International Organisation of La Francophonie serves as a reminder of the former French Empire. The French language cements the members. I don’t know any more about the status of the former French colonies.

A remnant of the British Empire is the Commonwealth of Nations (formerly the British Commonwealth). At one time, Queen Elizabeth II (or forebears) had been Queen/King of most of the realm. The Commonwealth still remains, but Elizabeth II is now Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

So what about the U.S.A., Russia, and China?


The People’s Republic of China is home to about 1.3 billion Han Chinese – people of Han ethnicity. The colonies around the Han people are (in counter-clockwise order):  Inner Mongolia, the Xinjiang Uygur Region, Tibet, small autonomous reserves of people who are anything but Chinese, and Taiwan. China also maintains a sphere of influence around the People’s Republic’s borders. North Korea is notable in this respect.


What remains of the Russian Empire is loosely organized as the Commonwealth of Independent States – independent from Russia for the first time since 1791. Some former Russian colonies, such as the Baltic States, are more recent conquests from the era of World War II. The former colonies are, again in counter-clockwise order:&nbsp Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (the Baltic States), Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Mongolia.

Not so long ago, Russia made efforts to expand its empire into Afghanistan. Poland and Finland have often been within Russia’s sphere of influence. The Soviet Union spread its influence westward into Germany after World War II.

The United States

The first vision of a greater U.S. was the Monroe Doctrine (expressed in 1823) which determined to exclude European nations from interfering in the Americas. At the same time, the U.S. continued to colonize westward across North America, and eastward from California and the Northwest.

The U.S. captured Florida from Spain and its southwest from Mexico. People who were living in sparsely populated Tejas, a colony of Mexico, broke away. Anglos had being migrating to Texas, so it’s not surprising that the independent Republic of Texas joined the Union.

Puerto Rico and part of the Virgin Islands are colonies except in name. Alaska and Hawaii were former colonies and then joined the Union as States.

Cuba is an interesting case. Early in U.S. history, politicians saw Cuba as a natural part of the nation. Some regarded it as a matter of time before Cuba became a state. Never mind that the population mostly spoke Spanish. The riches of Cuba were ripe for the taking, and take the U.S. did. The U.S. wrote Cuba’s constitution. Cubans had a pro forma opportunity to ratify this constitution. Cubans asserted themselves by trying to amend the constitution, but they only succeeded in small ways.

Until the Cuban Revolution, Cuba was useful for an American lifestyle. Organized crime from the U.S. fed the vices of vacationers. The biggest losers at the time of the revolution was organized crime in the U.S. The open criminality in Havana could not be duplicated anywhere on the mainland.

It’s not a stretch to see that mobsters expected that President John Kennedy would vigorously wrest Cuba away from Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. President Kennedy was, after all, the son of a mobster.

To an extent, Canada is within the U.S. sphere of influence although they vigorously assert their political, cultural, and economic independence.

Looking at the United States of America, we see again a nation surrounded by its colonies.


The New Global Law

Rafael Domingo. 2010. The New Global Law. American Society of International Law Studies in International Legal Theory series. New York: Cambridge University Press.

“The dislocations of the worldwide economic crisis, the necessity of a system of global justice to address crimes against humanity, and the notorious ‘democratic deficit’ of international institutions highlight the need for an innovative and truly global legal system, one that permits humanity to re-order itself according to acknowledged global needs and evolving consciousness.

“A new global law will constitute, by itself, a genuine legal order and will not be limited to a handful of moral principles that attempt to guide the conduct of the world’s peoples.  If the law of nations served the hegemonic interests of Ancient Rome, and international law served those of the European nation-state, then a new global law will contribute to the common good of all humanity and, ideally, to the development of durable world peace.  This volume offers a historical-juridical foundation for the development of this new global law.”

  1. The IUS gentium, a Roman concept
  2. The IUS commune, a medieval concept
  3. International law, a modern concept
  4. The crisis of international law
  5. Global law, a challenge for our time
  6. The global legal order
  7. Legal principles of global law
  8. Conclusion: The third time is the charm