U.S. foreign policy in the 21st Century

Iranians up to 'no good' with U.S. aircraft carrier mock-up

"'We don't really know what it means, but I for sure don't trust the Iranians,'' Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said Saturday. 'It's some kind of a ruse and whatever they are up to, it's no good.''"

Follow the money (or don't)

U.S. IRS audited fewer wealthy Americans in 2013 | Reuters

"(Reuters) - The U.S. Internal Revenue Service said on Friday that it audited fewer high-income Americans in 2013 than it did in 2012 or 2011, while it conducted more audits of people with no income."

First they say you do and then you don't

Update: Federal appeals court suspends same-sex marriages in Mich. after lower court judge overturned ban http://t.co/ImbNNcOUKP
3/22/14, 5:15 PM

Some excellent pictures from the Times' Lens blog

New Orleans by Streetlight

Maybe this summer's project will be…

…to learn the names of the streets around here. I never know names of streets. I just know where I’m going, and how to get there. But since I walk around a lot I do get stopped, occasionally, by people seeking directions. I just sent two nice people in a red pickup truck off to Vermont. By mistake.

One thing about living in New England, if you take a wrong turn you could easily wind up in another state. Especially on the Interstate. My sister left Boston once on the Interstate and was in Rhode Island before she figured out she was driving the wrong direction. Fortunately for her, there’s an exit in Rhode Island. 

Of course another thing is, you can’t get lost. If you should ever feel you’re lost all you need to do is keep driving, and in five minutes or less you’ll be somewhere with a name. If you don’t recognize the name, you can at least find it on a map. And we all have maps with is now, don’t we? So you’re found.

The people in the pickup truck were looking for a bicycle shop. Fortunately they weren’t riding bicycles; if they were they could be peddling for quite a while. But in that big red truck, it won’t be long until they find their way back.

Picky, picky


You can blow off a whole lot of work…

…with just this one collection of YouTube videos from Esquire:

The 25 Best A-List Movie Cameos

Can you spell "oatmeal"?

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier | TIME.com

"The price of bacon is surging and the cost of other morning staples, like coffee and orange juice, is set to rise… "

Stuff we haven't started worrying about yet

Wearables want to live on your wrists — and you've only got so much wrist. http://t.co/1oIZwVqeos
3/22/14, 10:37 AM

Oh. Them.

U.S. shifts Syria strategy to 'southern front' - latimes.com

We were worried about that last week.

Don't get us started. Please.

The Weirdest Pro-Hillary Party Yet - The Daily Beast

"The drink menu is all in tribute to the non-candidate. There is the Madame President, a mix of vodka, lime, and ginger syrup; The Pantsuit Aficionado, which is the same as the Madame President but swaps in two kinds of rum for the vodka; and the Ultimate Ceiling Breaker—a gin and lime cordial concoction. All are priced at the decidedly ungrassroots price of $18 a pop."


Here is not everywhere

Climate Change: 'Abrupt,' 'Unpredictable,' 'Irreversible' and 'Highly Damaging' | Blog, News & Notes | BillMoyers.com

"The report noted that even though 97 percent of experts agree climate change is happening and we humans are causing it, Americans remain under the impression that the question is still unsettled."

Oh, well, in that case…


"LINCOLNTON, N.C. (AP) -- Police in North Carolina have arrested a man accused of sucking on a woman's toes at a Wal-Mart after convincing her that he was a podiatry student.…
Police say when the woman became upset, the man offered to pay for her groceries."

[Emphasis added.]

OMG…think of the children!

Turkish Twitter ban draws public fury, sets PM at odds with president | Reuters

A Turkish Twitter ban! The horror!

iPhone art: Phil Compton

Snow in the air

Not enough to measure. Barely enough to even see. But it's there, I'm telling you. It's there. I know it's there.

Now, some real fun

Putin’s quiet Latin America play | TheHill

"‘On the military side, I believe they're establishing, if you will, lily pads for future use if they needed to use them,’ [Gen. James] Kelly said. "

I won’t.

Don't hold back

TPMCafe: Princeton mom author Susan Patton is everything that’s wrong with everything" http://t.co/G7fzA7CfKI http://t.co/3aBlw9zv4H
3/21/14, 7:40 AM

Ooops, forgot to check the sofa

10 Things to Know for Today - NYTimes.com



And even S&P gets into the act

On Russia’s List for Sanctions, and Proud of It - NYTimes.com

"As if to underscore the mismatch between the Russian and American sets of sanctions, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Russia’s credit rating on Thursday, citing the Western sanctions as one reason. The United States’s credit rating was unchanged."

I bet that’ll scare ‘em.

A question for today

Arena’s Meditation Room Raises Its Own Existential Questions - NYTimes.com

"‘Why would you want to do that when you came here to watch a game?’ Roger Kunch, a Nets fan from Long Island, said when informed of the room’s existence."


Now the sun comes out: Too late

It was a dark, drippy, altogether gloomy day and I spent the whole of it until now being grumpy, and I’m not about to change that just because we’ve got a little sun at this late hour. 

A little leftover Pi Day news

Tenn. girl recites pi past 1,700 digits

"'I knew I could do more than that,' she said, blaming nerves for the mistake."


This bitching about the weather is not likely to end soon

Rex Block: Forecast shows winter is staying put in the East.

"Here’s what’s happening: High pressure over Alaska…is forcing the jet stream from Siberia up and over the North Pole. That’s opening the flood gates for extremely cold air to spill southward out of the Arctic and in through the cracks in your bedroom window."

Probably not more than an inch but still, how depressing is this?

7-Day Forecast for Latitude 42.6°N and Longitude 72.6°W

Wednesday night: Rain and snow before 1am, then snow and sleet between 1am and 3am, then rain and snow after 3am.…"

Don't you turn that other cheek to me, sucker

Georgia Senate Passes Bill To Allow Guns In Churches

"The Georgia Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that will let church leaders allow guns in their churches, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution."

Russians are being so mean

Russian forces storm Ukraine base in Crimea, U.S. sees 'dark path' to isolation | Reuters

"(Reuters) - The United States warned Moscow it was on a 'dark path' to isolation on Wednesday after Russian troops backed by unarmed volunteers stormed Ukraine's naval headquarters in the Crimean port of Sevastopol and raised their flag."

Why don’t they just want to be like us?


The dog ate my pot

Stoned dogs are a growing problem for Washington - Salon.com

"Most recently, clinics in Washington state say that since recreational marijuana was legalized,  they’ve been treating as many as 30 cases of canine THC overdoses per month."

It's called Russia

Who and What is Vladimir Putin? | The American Conservative

"Vladimir Putin seems to have lost touch with reality, Angela Merkel reportedly told Barack Obama after speaking with the Russian president. He is ‘in another world.’ ’I agree with what Angela Merkel said … that he is in another world,’ said Madeleine Albright…"


America and Russia are on a collision course today over a matter—whose flag will fly over what parts of Ukraine—no Cold War president, from Truman to Reagan, would have considered any of our business.

Biden may unfriend Putin too

News from The Associated Press

"WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Denouncing Russia's actions in Crimea as 'nothing more than a land grab,' Vice President Joe Biden warned Russia on Tuesday that the U.S. and Europe will impose further sanctions as Moscow moved to annex part of Ukraine."

Here's a factoid

Crimea is about 1/4 the size of Ohio.

A couple of days early by the calendar

A Chickadee Mating Zone Surges North - NYTimes.com

Nevertheless, a perfect time for our annual shout-out to Dorothy Parker, who said:

Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants.

Burger time

Study Questions Fat and Heart Disease Link - NYTimes.com

"For decades, health officials have urged the public to avoid saturated fat as much as possible, saying it should be replaced with the unsaturated fats in foods like nuts, fish, seeds and vegetable oils.

But the new research, published on Monday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, did not find that people who ate higher levels of saturated fat had more heart disease than those who ate less.…"

(I told you yesterday 14º was good news…

…today it’s 9º.)

Meanwhile, even though it never got above freezing yesterday, we lost some ice from the sidewalks and a little snow. Go sun. (Or sublimation.)


It can't be good for you if it's fun


"It won't be nearly as much fun as eating candy bars, but a big study is being launched to see if pills containing the nutrients in dark chocolate can help prevent heart attacks and strokes."

No puppy chow for Putin

Did the Obama administration enable the invasion of Crimea? | The War Room

"If Putin persists, we should make it clear that we are willing to isolate Russia until it stops holding its breath and having these repeated tantrums. Specifically, we should flood Ukraine with aid. No more quibbling about ‘where it might end up,’ please: we’re a country that spends $52 billion a year on our pets, so I think we can spare several billion to stabilize whatever part of Ukraine Putin doesn’t invade."
Been there.  Got the sticker.
iPhone art:  Phil Compton

Yeah, take that, snow

Winter Not Yet Done, More Snow for Parts of US - NYTimes.com

"Ricardo Contreras, an upholsterer from Harrisburg, Pa., said he was tired of the winter and had no plans to shovel whatever might fall overnight.

'I'll just let it melt by itself,' Contreras said."

We have no new snow here, but things have come to a sorry pass when you wake up to a 14º morning and think that’s good news.


Wait, I thought the Russian was the cazy one

Ron Paul Is Supporting Russia’s Illegal Occupation of Crimea - The Daily Beast

"Paul bases his support of the Crimean referendum on libertarian grounds, as if what’s happening half a world away under the watchful eyes of the Russian military is akin to a Tea Party protest demanding less federal control over education policy. ‘There should be a right of secession,’ Paul said on Fox."

Now, a drone gap


"The [FAA] bars commercial use of drones no matter how seemingly benign. The lone exception is an oil company that has been granted permission to fly drones over the Arctic Ocean, and it took an act of Congress to win that concession."

And if you can get past the two-bit psychology…

Steampunks at Sea - NYTimes.com

…this piece on cruising steampunks is fun to read.

Honda Recalls Minivans, GM calls lawyers

Honda Recalls 900,000 Minivans - NYTimes.com

As Scandal Unfolds, G.M. Calls In the Lawyers - NYTimes.com

From our public service desk: It's not too late to register

World Santa Claus Congress at Bakken, Denmark

"The World Santa Claus Congress has taken place in the Dyrehavsbakken amusement park (usually shortened to Bakken) north of Copenhagen in Denmark since 1957. Every summer, Bakken is invaded by Santas from around the world who gather to spread good Christmas cheer, have fun and socialise with their peers. "