Wait, Putin and Obama have a relationship? Had? Whatever?

Putin-Obama relationship in deep freeze - Edward-Isaac Dovere - POLITICO.com

"Obama started his presidency pushing for a ‘reset’ in Russian relations. Instead, Putin has essentially pulled the plug."


"‘Part of the problem is here is the strength of the motivations on the Russian side,’ Pifer added. Putin ‘cares a whole lot more about losing Ukraine than the West cares about keeping it.’"

Why should Harvard and Yale have all the fun?

Ex-Goldman Sachs Fraudster Fabrice Tourre to Teach Economics at University of Chicago

"The former Goldman Sachs vice-president Fabrice Tourre, who was convicted on six counts of securities fraud six months ago, has landed a new job as an economics teacher at a prestigious university in the US.

Tourre, also known as 'Fabulous Fab,' will teach a class called 'Elements of Economic Analysis' on Thursday afternoons, followed by a discussion on Monday."

No, there will be no revolution here

Ames True Temper - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Ames True Temper Company [the last American manufacturer of pitchforks] closed its facility in West Virginia in September 2005, unable to reach a contract agreement with the United Steelworkers Union."

Ah, sweet irony.

Not rattling sabers exactly, but rattling all the same

Obama to Russia: There will be 'costs' for Ukraine - Yahoo News

"Officials say Obama may retaliate by canceling a trip to Russia this summer…"


The Science of Cheese Is Far Weirder Than You Think | Wired Opinion | Wired.com

"Speaking of big cheeses (literally), a Cheshire cheese weighing 1,235 pounds and using the milk of 900 cows was once sent by sleigh for 500 miles from Massachussetts to Washington, D.C., and presented to President Thomas Jefferson on January 1, 1802.… "

No wonder he was so untouchable

Chicago officials say Ness undeserving of honor

"'He was afraid of guns and barely left his office,' former IRS agent Bob Fuesel said. "

Soon to be ex-XP

How to keep your PC secure when Microsoft ends Windows XP support | PCWorld

"The Windows XPocalypse is almost upon us. After a legendary dozen year run, Microsoft will stop providing security patches for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. Without Microsoft’s protection, all those WinXP PCs will have targets painted on their hard drives.

Nearly 30 percent of Internet-connected PCs still run Windows XP…"

In the middle of a drought, Southern California floats away

Rain in California Brings Relief, and New Problems - NYTimes.com

"Because the ground is so dry in the region, it is also less able to absorb water. Flash flood warnings were issued in Los Angeles County, and roads were closed as waters rose. Power was reported out in regions across the state because of fallen trees."

So it might take a while to sort this out

Crimea’s Leader Moves to Cement Control Over Region - NYTimes.com

"Crimea, while part of Ukraine, has enjoyed a large degree of autonomy under an agreement with the federal government in Kiev since shortly after Ukrainian independence from the Soviet Union. The strategically-important peninsula, which has been the subject of military disputes for centuries, has strong historic, linguistic and cultural ties to Russia. The population of roughly two million is predominantly Russian, followed by a large number of Ukrainians.



The money quote

U.S. Spies Said No Invasion—Putin Disagreed - The Daily Beast

"‘Putin's aim is to show that he is in the catbird seat, and there is nothing we can do about it,’ this former officer said. ‘He's like a kid with a can of gasoline and a book of matches, and he laughs as Obama tries to deliver lectures on how fire is dangerous. Indeed, Putin throws banana peels on the ground, and Obama manages to slip on every one of them. I've never seen anything like it.’"

And what, you may ask, is Glengarry?

“Dont think of it as ‘stolen.’ Think of it as ‘Gone Galt.’” - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money

"The group of people who would see this nothing-to-see-here reassurance on Bitcoin convincing would surely constitute the most valuable set of contacts for con artists since the Glengarry leads."


I long ago lost count…

…of things I don’t understand so I have no idea what number to assign to this.

No bluff: U.S. planning possible withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan – CNN Security Clearance - CNN.com Blogs

"Statements by the White House and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel showed President Barack Obama's impatience with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's refusal to sign the agreement that would keep several thousand American troops in the country after combat operations conclude this year."

What, we’re unhappy about leaving Afghanistan? Upset Karzai won’t let us stay (on our terms)? 

I thought we wanted out of Afghanistan. I thought Obama said he wanted out too. But now he’s “impatient” (really?) about not being invited to stay? 


Who says things never change?

Outrage Alert: American Flag T-Shirt Ban Upheld - The Wire

"If you're wondering why the Drudge Siren™ is flashing, a federal ruled today that three high school students' rights to freedom of speech were not violated when they were sent home for wearing American flag T-shirts. "

It’s nice to see conservatives sticking up for American-flag T-shirts (unless, presumably, they are being worn by hippies). 

Who knows where this could lead?

Woohoo! Flashback!

Russian spy ship makes surprise visit to Havana | Reuters

"(Reuters) - A Russian spy ship slipped into Havana Bay for an unannounced visit during a period of turmoil in Ukraine and displays of military strength elsewhere in the world."

I hope they’re not listening to anybody’s phone calls, man. That would be naughty.

For a few cents more

Panama Canal, consortium reach preliminary deal to finish work | Reuters

"(Reuters) - The Panama Canal and a Spanish-led consortium expanding the major maritime artery have reached a preliminary deal to complete work on a project stymied in a row over $1.6 billion in cost overruns, the canal's administrator said on Thursday."

Or they could just do it here

News from The Associated Press

"ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race across Alaska kicks off this weekend as usual, after warm winter weather nearly prompted officials to move the start hundreds of miles north to Fairbanks for the first time in a decade."

Rolling along

Bakken Crude, Rolling Through Albany - NYTimes.com

"‘There’s been some clear indications that D.E.C. needs to be a better cop on the beat when it comes to this industry,’ said Peter Iwanowicz, the executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York, and a former state official in charge of environmental issues. ‘…The reality is that Albany is now part of the oil patch.’"



News from The Associated Press

"'First class has become a way for a traveler to have an almost private jet-like experience,' says Henry Harteveldt, an airline analyst with Hudson Crossing. Airlines 'will do everything but sing a lullaby.'"

On glorious days

The State of Arizona - NYTimes.com

"Maybe we have reached a critical historical juncture. Struggles for human rights always begin with brave men and women who stand up, isolated, against the forces of oppression. But, in the United States, victory really arrives on the glorious day when the people with money decide discrimination is bad for business.

Thanks, Arizona."

Kiddies eat more broccoli, do more jumping jacks, lose weight

Obesity Rate for Young Children Plummets 43% in a Decade - NYTimes.com

"The news announcement from the C.D.C. included a remark from Mrs. Obama: ‘I am thrilled at the progress we’ve made over the last few years in obesity rates among our youngest Americans.’"

But wait—the children in that headline (and in the celebratory article that follows) are 2-5 years old. Did we say kiddies? That’s what we meant. 

For everybody else the data is more or less unchanged.

But dude, there’s got to be a pony in there somewhere, right?

This is starting to look like a whole lot of fun

Warlords With Dark Pasts Battle in Afghan Election - NYTimes.com

"The preponderance of candidates with some sort of unsavory past has also made American officials especially leery of weighing in, despite the fact that many warlords have been recipients of American support and cash in the past."


Also repetitive redundancy

Comedy corner: A haven for humorous hilarity. A collection curated by @LonelyPetunia1 https://t.co/XVwM2XSiHH
2/26/14, 1:01 PM

At the forefront of science once again

America’s obesity cure: Laziness? - Salon.com

"Social critics fret that Americans are growing fat and lazy. Well, newly published research suggests we may be able to combat our obesity problem by tapping into our inherent unwillingness to get up off of our butts."

But you're going to tell me anyway, aren't you

You don't want to know how many calories there are in a bag of movie theater popcorn http://t.co/hedYi86G9n
2/26/14, 11:40 AM

(A few days ago, Salon had this to say:

7 foods that were supposed to be incredibly unhealthy — but are actually anything but - Salon.com

"Old Wisdom: Popcorn is junk food.

New Wisdom: Popcorn is a whole grain, loaded with nutrients."

So I’m getting a little dizzy. But I guess they didn’t say movie popcorn, did they. So maybe it just depends on how much space you have to fill.

OK, this is it

I am now officially tired of being cold. Things have become so bad around here Siri tried to tell me a joke this morning, presumably to cheer me up. I asked for the outdoor temperature and Siri said “it doesn’t matter what the temperature of the room is, it’s always room temperature.” Ha ha. I don’t remember what that answer to my question was, but at least it had two digits. 

So you can see. Anyway, it’s not really the cold, it’s all the dragging on of clothes and lacing up of boots that’s gone too far. I know Spring is still a few weeks off, but enough already.


For what it's worth

An organization that calls itself Popular Resistance takes a contrary view of events in Ukraine, Venezuela, and elsewhere…

The Coups of the Obama Administration | PopularResistance.Org

"Last night, as I watched the television news, there were consecutive stories on massive street protests in Ukraine and Venezuela. They were all presented as democratic protests against undemocratic and unresponsive governments. Not one of the stories mentioned the not unimportant detail that, in each case, the violent street protests were targeting governments democratically elected by the people."

Page 2


"I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not so sure."

Tearable Puns

Feeling a little grumpy this morning, Bunky?

News from The Associated Press

"When Hollywood gathers to celebrate itself at the Academy Awards, it fetes not its standard business, but its oddities, its rarities, its freaks that somehow managed to squeeze through the cracks."



98% of mobile malware targets Android platform | Computerworld Blogs

"Although Android owners might not want to hear it, the platform is still the top target for malicious attacks. Android owners have been hearing that for years. In fact, back in 2011, Android was dubbed a cyber menace. This time, Kaspersky found that 98.05% of malware targets Android, which confirms ‘both the popularity of this mobile OS and the vulnerability of its architecture.’"

Go money!

S&P fails to hold record levels - Feb. 24, 2014

"The S&P 500 soared above the key 1,850 level in the afternoon…"

River gets oiled up

Oil Spill Shuts Down 65 Miles Of The Mississippi River | ThinkProgress

"In St. Charles Parish, public drinking water intakes along the Mississippi were closed as a precaution, but a news release Sunday assured the public that the water supply ‘remains safe’ in the parish."

Loopy in New Hampshire: Was that a Meg Ryan movie?

Loaded Chambers: A Brief History of Politicians Accidentally Shooting Things | Mother Jones
"New Hampshire state Rep. Kyle Tasker explains that he dropped one of his two handguns on the floor of the capitol because he was 'loopy' from just donating blood."
And much, much more!

Ooops, this is a little awkward

Krugman, here…

Health Care Horror Hooey - NYTimes.com

…writes in this morning’s Times Obamacare opponents just make up stories about people who’ve been caused hardship by the health care act:

Even supporters of health reform are somewhat surprised by the right’s apparent inability to come up with real cases of hardship. Surely there must be some people somewhere actually being hurt by a reform that affects millions of Americans. Why can’t the right find these people and exploit them?

But here, in yesterday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal is a guy offering his own mother’s story:

Stephen Blackwood: ObamaCare and My Mother's Cancer Medicine - WSJ.com

"With no other options, she bought the plan and was approved on Nov. 22. Because by January the plan was still not showing up on her online Humana account, however, she repeatedly called to confirm that it was active. The agents told her not to worry, she was definitely covered.…

Maybe this is not exactly the kind of case Krugman has in mind but the woman does sound real enough to me. Rare, perhaps, but real nonetheless.

Which totally made-up quiz should you take?


"The trick to creating an addictive personality quiz is similar to the art of writing a good horoscope. It has to be broad and all-encompassing yet make people believe the answer applies to them personally. We know there's little substance to them, and yet we can't seem to stop taking them."

(Seems to me they went viral ten years ago but maybe I’m just making that up.)

It's cold again

And snowing. Not enough to matter, but still…

[We are playing around with blogging from an iPhone, which could mean trouble.]

[Enough with the weather news, right? It's getting boring. And anyway we've had a little warmish weather these last few days. But that's ending—tomorrow, if the forecasters have their way. So today is a lot of running/slipping/sliding (icy) around trying to Get Things Done. Sorta.]

[Also picking up stuff for jambalaya sometime this week.]



Apple has Siri, and Microsoft is about to get Cortana | The Verge

"We’re told that Cortana will take the form of a circular animated icon with the hue of your selected Windows Phone accent color, and will have a personality not dissimilar from Apple’s Siri. Cortana will animate when it’s speaking or thinking, and bounce around or frown with 'emotion' depending on the queries involved."

Whatever happened to Bob?