Spring forward: Daylight Saving Time begins tomorrow

It takes a…bunch

The Case of the Accidental Superstar

"Photograph by Karim Sadli. Styled by Joe McKenna. Hair: Paul Hanlon at Julian Watson Agency. Grooming: Hannah Murray at Art and Commerce. Nails: Trish Lomax at www.PremierHairAndMakeup.com. Set design: Max Bellhouse. Digital operator: Edouard Malfettes. Photo assistants: Antoni Ciufo, JP Woodland, Simon McGuigan. Stylist’s assistants: John Pashalidis, Matt King. Tailor: Caroline Thorpe. Hair assistant: Pierpaolo Lai. Makeup assistant: Lyndsay Lilly Keys. Set assistants: Alexandra Leavey, Tilly Power. Production: Ragi Dholakia Productions. Polo Ralph Lauren suit and shirt. Cumberbatch’s own Omega watch."

[Credits on a photograph of the actor Benedict Cumberbatch in today’s New York Times]


Wait, what?

West may ultimately have to accept Crimea as part of Russia – CNN Security Clearance - CNN.com Blogs

Says CNN Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto, tensions in Crimea "hit very close to home for the United States” because Kiev is only a short flight from Rome. 

Read it and weep.

Well, that was fast

After ruling, Massachusetts bans 'upskirt' photos - Yahoo News

"Patrick's office said the governor signed the measure Friday, two days after the state's highest court ruled that a man who took cellphone photos up the skirts of female subway passengers in Boston wasn't violating state law as it's written."

We will now return to being confused about more important things.

This time yesterday…

…trying to be a good, obedient American, I was sitting here eating a bowl of leftover vegetables and dreaming, fondly, of a big fat baloney sandwich. Today I am going straight for the sandwich and do not get in my way.

I grew up with baloney sandwiches and yellow mustard on squishy, white bread. Now I eat them with that brown Germanic mustard and whole-grain bread, but that’s as obedient as I plan to get. I’ll eat vegetables for supper, where they belong.

Don't sweat it, Syria, you're yesterday's crisis now

Exclusive: Syria to miss deadline to destroy 12 chemical arms sites-sources at OPCW | Reuters

"Syrian officials could not immediately be reached for comment."

Imagine our disappointment

Obama’s vacation plans in jeopardy - Edward-Isaac Dovere - POLITICO.com


Yes, Bunky, we are all in favor of people being in charge of their own destiny except when we’re not.

Kerry says 'Crimea is Ukraine' after lawmakers vote to join Russia - Yahoo News

"Rome (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry insisted Thursday that 'Crimea is Ukraine', after pro-Moscow lawmakers on the tense peninsula voted to have their region become part of Russia.…
His comments came after US President Barack Obama warned that a referendum in Crimea on joining Russia would violate Ukrainian sovereignty and international law."


Getty releases images for embedding

Great thoughts from the Judical Court

Massachusetts court says 'upskirt' photos are legal - CNN.com

"'A female passenger on a MBTA trolley who is wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is 'partially nude,' no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing,' wrote Justice Margot Botsford of the state Supreme Judicial Court."

And they called us Commies. Ha. 

What, you don't think that's a sure way to win votes?

Amid carnage of war, Syria readies for Assad re-election | Reuters

"Some of the more bizarre manifestations of support for Assad include two Hummers, painted with the colors of the flag, that drive around town sometimes at odd hours blaring loyalist music and followed by several honking cars."

Facebook leaps merrily over the shark

News from The Associated Press

"ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Under pressure from gun control advocates, Facebook agreed Wednesday to delete posts from users seeking to buy or sell weapons illegally or without a background check."

Imagine our dismay

What’s Wrong with Academic Freedom | The American Conservative

"Her call for ‘censorship’ of conservative views on campus is at this point almost wholly unnecessary, since there are nearly no conservatives to be found at Harvard, or on most college campuses today (the University of Colorado has gone so far to create a Chair in Conservative Studies, since there was no other way to locate a conservative on that campus)."

It's going to be a long, long year

Employee Accidentally Sends Out 2,400 Social Security Numbers | The Weekly Standard

"‘‘The more I thought about it, the more troubled I was,’ he said. ‘What if this had fallen into the wrong hands?…'"

If misery loves company

Massive Linux security flaw dwarfs Apple’s cryptography problems of just last week | ExtremeTech

(Apple’s recent end-of-the-world security glitch has now become just “cryptography problems.”)

Strawberries are back…

…nice and big and juicy. This is a very good sign.

Meanwhile, we are celebrating here because the temp just might get all the way up to 30º this afternoon. And maybe another millimeter or two of the snow will melt off.

And Some Guy in Seattle advises us the Washington Post’s comics section has an archive of BC strips that go all the way back to 2006 (as well as a bunch of other pretty good stuff). 

And 338.9 hours until Spring.

You're glad we're fracking now, right?

U.S. Hopes Boom in Natural Gas Can Curb Putin - NYTimes.com

"WASHINGTON — The crisis in Crimea is heralding the rise of a new era of American energy diplomacy, as the Obama administration tries to deploy the vast new supply of natural gas in the United States as a weapon to undercut the influence of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, over Ukraine and Europe."

We can sell all that gas to Ukraine! Woohoo! That’ll show ‘em.

Obamacare, whenever

Consumers Allowed to Keep Health Plans for Two More Years - NYTimes.com

"WASHINGTON — The Obama administration, grappling with continued political fallout over its health care law, said Wednesday that it would allow consumers to renew health insurance policies that did not comply with the new law for two more years, pushing the issue well beyond this fall’s midterm elections."


Wait—it's not?

1 in 10 Americans think HTML is an STD, study finds - latimes.com

"27% identified 'gigabyte' as an insect commonly found in South America."

But it seemed like a great idea at the time

Dove nixes N.J. 'Armpit of America' billboard. It stunk!

"The company decided to ditch a billboard advertisement telling New Jersey residents to take being called 'The Armpit of America as a compliment' after people complained."

Not required reading, but a pretty good yarn

Amazon.com: Project Seven Alpha: American Airlines in Burma 1942 eBook: Leland Shanle: Books

"WINNER OF (Gold Award) HISTORICAL FICTION AWARD for 2012; by the Military Writers Society of America (MWSA)."

Shanle seems to lose control of his book from time to time and there are bits that seem anachronistic to me, although I haven’t spent the time to find out if they really are. Still, DC-3s.


…maybe…maybe…impossible to know…get out and do it!

How Fat May Hurt the Brain, and How Exercise May Help - NYTimes.com

The Pope as centerfold

A New Magazine for Fans of the Vatican’s Biggest Star - NYTimes.com

"The 68-page Il Mio Papa (My Pope) will hit Italian newsstands on Ash Wednesday, offering a glossy medley of papal pronouncements and photographs, along with peeks into his personal life. Each weekly issue will also include a pullout centerfold of the pope, accompanied by a quote.


Noted in passing

Our Entirely Self-Inflicted Ukraine Disaster | The American Conservative

"In other words, if the Obama administration now finds itself in an awkward situation, having encouraged an anti-Russian revolution on Russia’s doorstep and now finding itself unable or unwilling, thankfully, to follow through, it is a problem entirely of its own making. Nothing required the administration to do anything about the Ukraine."

Follow the money

E.U. to Offer Aid to Ukraine as Russia and U.S. Set to Meet - NYTimes.com

"The aid will buttress the $1 billion in loan guarantees that Secretary of State John Kerry pledged to Ukraine while visiting Kiev on Tuesday. The economic lifeline is expected to help Ukraine’s embattled interim government amid spiraling debts and the threat of rising Russian gas prices. "

The UK (and we, of course) give billions to the new “interim” government of Ukraine (which says it needs $35 Bil pronto) so, among other things, they can buy Russian gas? If I were this Putin guy I’d be looking around for more deals like that.

Little things add up

Not only do you have to pay for being wiretapped (see yesterday), you also have to pay for getting groped at the airport. (Hey, who else is gonna do it?)

Obama seeks another hike in aviation security fees - CNN.com

"(CNN) -- It took years to get through -- an increase in the fee airline passengers pay for airport screening and other government-run aspects of aviation security.
It takes effect this summer but now already President Barack Obama wants those who travel by air to pick up even more of the security tab."

Zero to sixty…

…I’m not not quite as fast as I used to be: Getting up in the morning and getting up to cruising speed requires a little sitting around and slurping tea, as I’m reminded every week when trash pick-up day comes around. That trip to the curb seems longer than it used to be. Maybe the street is moving, or maybe it’s me.

Once I get up to speed though, I’m fine. Better than the rest of the world some days, it seems. I spent a little time in New Haven yesterday—a meeting that lasted no more than 30 minutes—and this was a 13-hour project, only about half of which time was spent actually sitting in a bus. Mass transit may be thriving in the big cities but it’s not coming to the hinterlands any faster than fiber is. We have a big shiny new transit center here, but precious little transit to go with it.


Stuff we haven't started worrying about yet (and maybe never will)

Chipotle might stop serving guacamole if climate change gets worse :-( http://t.co/7gS5H586QD
3/4/14, 10:00 PM


Sprint Accused of Overcharging Feds Millions for Wiretapping | Threat Level | Wired.com

"The President Barack Obama administration accused Sprint today of overcharging the government more than $21 million in wiretapping expenses."

"Love Wins," it says

Go figure. 

The artwork at our regional transit center

Could be a very long wait. 


It may be pretty empty around here…

…tomorrow, Tuesday, due to a certain amount of unavoidable busyness. We will check in when we can. We expect to be suitably un-busy again by Wednesday.

How about from snow?

Report Calls for Better Backstops to Protect Power Grid From Cyberattacks - NYTimes.com

Does not sound like a good plan to me

Pressure Rising as Obama Works to Rein In Russia - NYTimes.com

“[Obama] has left the harshest condemnations to Mr. Kerry, who on Sunday called them a ‘brazen act of aggression’ and ‘a stunning willful choice by President Putin,’ accusing him of ‘weakness’ and ‘desperation.’"

Nor this:

"But Mr. Obama offered Russia what aides called an ‘offramp,’ a face-saving way out of the crisis, by proposing that European observers take the place of Russian forces in Crimea…” [Really?]

Meanwhile, perhaps I am the only person on earth who thought last night’s Oscar show was dull (I gave up before the last, good parts—Kate Blanchett was a good call).


No Spam?

“Moscow understands only force and willingness to sacrifice human lives” | The XX Committee

"It is naive to maintain that the West can influence Russia by imposing sanctions and freezing funds of the ruling kleptocratic clique. Putin & Co. have transferred their assets to a safe place by now, and Russia can withstand a long economic blockade stoically because the average Russian, unlike Europeans and Americans, is able to survive on vodka and potatoes alone. But it is Germany which will be unable to stay in business without Russian raw materials."

So, one might ask…

Snowstorm to Pound Northeast - The Daily Beast

" Usually snowy New England, though, is actually likely to be spared by the storm. "

…what Northeast are they talking about if not New England? Mostly, DC.

Fine. This Northeast has had enough. 

So why not just go to a car wash then?

Now showering in the upstairs bathroom is a digital spa experience. "It's really like in a car wash." http://t.co/Ribcse7jy9
3/2/14, 12:04 PM

And why am I so confused?

No joking around in New York

Quit clowning around! Pair of jokers arrested in Times Square-42nd St. station - NY Daily News

"Valins was dressed in yellow overalls and a black fedora when they were pulled off the train. Reinits was sporting a bulbous red nose, red makeup and red clothes. The painted pair were charged with loitering with the purpose of entertaining — a violation punishable by a fine of up to $500…"

Loitering with the purpose of entertaining? Where is Homeland Security when you need them?

This pretty much nails it, we think…

Here's What Is Going To Happen With Ukraine | Mother Jones

…and so we now return to our regular programming.

Keeping up with the White House blog

Weekly Wrap Up | The White House

"This week, the White House hosted its first-ever film festival. The President and Vice President showed us how they move, and the VP gave Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers some gifts. Check out what you missed in this week's wrap up."

I noticed this piece about Obama’s recent phone call to Putin and, figuring a link to William Kristol would be, gentle reader, way to creepy even for me, cruised on over to whitehouse.gov to find an official statement about the call (have you ever seen so much going forward all in one place?). So there it is, buried but still alive. 

Still, the creepy Kristol version is more fun to read. 

And if you want to read the White House blog it’s not our fault.

Let's not make this a trend

Mummies' milk: World's oldest cheese found in China - CBS News

When you're in a hole, stop digging

White House: Obama Not Attending National Security Briefing "Not Unusual"

"‘[The] president was not at the meeting, but he’s been briefed by Susan Rice and members of his national security team,’ the official said in an email. ‘That’s not unusual.’"