“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tensions rise over Crimean peninsula

 By Frida Ghitis (CNN)

All of Ukraine shares a history with Russia. And the entire country is home to millions of Russian-speaking citizens. But in the Crimean region many of Ukraine's internal conflicts -- particularly its divisions regarding Russia -- are magnified.

 The majority of residents are ethnic Russians. The rest are ethnic Ukrainians and Tatars. Many of the ethnic Russians feel a strong allegiance to Moscow. Some would like the region to break away and become independent of both Kiev and Moscow. Others would like it to become a part of Russia.

In a region where national borders have shifted with political and military convulsions for centuries, Crimea has changed rulers many times. During much of the Soviet period it was part of the Russian republic. Then in 1954, in a surprising and not wholly understood move, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave Crimea to Ukraine. At the time, the redrawing of borders was not as meaningful as it is now. The Crimea was still inside the USSR, still ruled from Moscow.

 Crimea was the stage for major historical events. In 1945, one of the most important of all Allied meetings was held there, when Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill joined Joseph Stalin at a Black Sea resort for the Yalta Conference, where they planned the last phases of the war and started drawing the map of post-war Europe.

The peninsula was also the setting for the Crimean War in the 19th century, as the Great Powers fought each other for control of the Old World and of the pivotal Black Sea.
Crimea has strong historic, political, cultural and geographic links to Russia. But perhaps most important, it has paramount strategic value.

Take a look at a map to see it more clearly.

Look at the city of Sevastopol near the southern tip of the Crimean Peninsula. Sevastopol has long been a major naval port for Russia. Today it is the headquarters for Russia's Black Sea fleet.

Imagine you have Russian cargo -- say, weapons you want to send to your ally in Syria. The best route is through the Crimea, sailing toward Istanbul, then across the Dardanelles into the Mediterranean. In fact, the Russian navy needs Sevastopol in order to have access to the Mediterranean and to the Indian Ocean during the winter months. It has a smaller civilian port at Novorossiysk, a much inferior option.
Sevastopol became the subject of heated negotiations when the Soviet Union was collapsing. In 1990, Ukraine and Russia agreed to grant special status to the area, with a long-term lease for the naval facility running until 2047. The arrangement is vaguely reminiscent of the U.S. lease at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay.
With the collapse of the pro-Moscow regime in Ukraine last week, Russia sees a threat to its larger goal of maintaining a sphere of influence over its "near abroad," what used to be the Soviet Union. It wants to protect its natural gas pipelines across Ukraine. And it has a specific concern with preserving its facilities in Sevastopol. It also wants to protect Ukraine's ethnic Russians from discrimination.

The danger is that Russia will use the situation of Ukraine's Russian speakers as a pretext to achieve its other goals. It did that in 2008 when it invaded the Republic of Georgia and gave official recognition to breakaway regions as independent states.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would defend Ukraine's Russians "uncompromisingly." At the same time, President Vladimir Putin ordered military exercises on Ukraine's border and put 150,000 troops on alert. Russia's Interfax news agency said the Defense Ministry reported that "constant air patrols are being carried out by fighter jets in the border regions."

 Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback, an advanced two-seat fighter-bomber and attack aircraft
Some 26,000 Russian troops are believed to be stationed in Sevastopol. Ukraine's new President warned Moscow that if Russian troops leave their bases "it will be considered military aggression."
The unfolding drama -- seized government buildings, military forces on alert, uncompromising language -- gave cause for alarm to the countries' neighbors. Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski called it "a very dangerous game," warning, "this is how regional conflicts begin."


  1. The west will talk and send a few bucks. The Russians will act but therein lie many perils.

    1. What perils? Are you shacking in your boots?

    2. Shacking -

      a term used when a member of one sex spontaneously spends the night with a member of the opposite sex in a non-platonic way, usually following a night of bar-going or after a fabulous date.

      Only a deviant, like Farmer Bob would equate boots with sex


  2. Armed men take airport in Ukraine's Crimea, report says

    SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine – Dozens of armed men in military uniforms seized an airport in the capital of Ukraine's strategic Crimea region early Friday, a report said.

    Witnesses told the Interfax news agency that the 50 or so men were wearing the same gear as the ones who seized government buildings in the city, Simferopol, on Thursday and raised the Russian flag.

    The report said the men with "Russian Navy ensigns" first surrounded the Simferopol Airport's domestic flights terminal.

    The report could not be immediately confirmed.

    The events in the Crimea region have heightened tensions with neighboring Russia, which scrambled fighter jets to patrol borders in the first stirrings of a potentially dangerous confrontation reminiscent of Cold War brinksmanship.

    Russia also has granted shelter to Ukraine's fugitive president, Viktor Yanukovych, after recent deadly protests in Kiev swept in a new government.

    While the government in Kiev, led by a pro-Western technocrat, pledged to prevent any national breakup, there were mixed signals in Moscow. Russia pledged to respect Ukraine's territorial integrity.

    Yanukovych was said to be holed up in a luxury government retreat, with a news conference scheduled Friday near the Ukrainian border. He has not been seen publicly since Saturday.

    On Thursday, as masked gunmen wearing unmarked camouflage uniforms erected a sign reading "Crimea is Russia" in Simferopol, Ukraine's interim prime minister declared the Black Sea territory "has been and will be a part of Ukraine."

    The escalating conflict sent Ukraine's finances plummeting further, prompting Western leaders to prepare an emergency financial package.

    Yanukovych, whose abandonment of closer ties to Europe in favor of a bailout loan from Russia set off three months of protests, finally fled by helicopter last week as his allies deserted him. The humiliating exit was a severe blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had been celebrating his signature Olympics even as Ukraine's drama came to a crisis. The Russian leader has long dreamed of pulling Ukraine -- a country of 46 million people considered the cradle of Russian civilization -- closer into Moscow's orbit.

    For Ukraine's neighbors, the specter of Ukraine breaking up evoked memories of centuries of bloody conflict.

    "Regional conflicts begin this way," said Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, calling the confrontation "a very dangerous game."

    Russia's dispatch of fighter jets Thursday to patrol borders and drills by some 150,000 Russian troops -- almost the entirety of its force in the western part of the country -- signaled strong determination not to lose Ukraine to the West.


  3. Street blockades divide opinion in Venezuela
    BBC News

    Barricades have become a common sight during the recent wave of anti-government protests in Venezuela. BBC Mundo's Vladimir Hernandez in Caracas takes a closer look at who is erecting them and why their use is controversial.

  4. Must get this in -

    Secret of Q's High IQ finally discovered -


    Stupider With Monogamy
    FEB. 27, 2014
    Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
    Carl Zimmer
    Carl Zimmer
    Continue reading the main storyShare This Page
    Forcing male flies into monogamy has a startling effect: After a few dozen generations, the flies become worse at learning.

    This discovery, published on Wednesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, isn’t a biological excuse for men who have strayed from their significant other. Instead, it’s a tantalizing clue about why intelligence evolved.

    The new study was carried out by Brian Hollis and Tadeusz J. Kawecki, biologists at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. They investigated a fly species called Drosophila melanogaster that normally has a very un-monogamous way of life.

    To find a mate, the male flies seek out females on rotting pieces of fruit. They often engage in battles to chase their rivals away, and then pick a female to court.

    “The males will do this wing song, where they use one wing or the other to generate a song,” said Dr. Hollis. This wing song may last from 10 minutes to an hour.

    Continue reading the main story
    Drosophila Courtship Song - Genetics - University of Leicester Video by UniversityLeicester
    Continue reading the main story

    More Matter Columns
    Virgin females usually accept the overtures. But if a female has just mated, she will reject a new male’s advances. “If a male comes at her from behind and she’s not interested, she’ll kick at him with her rear legs,” said Dr. Hollis. If a couple of days have passed since her last mating, however, the female may choose to mate again.

    Seven years ago, while he was a graduate student at Florida State University, Dr. Hollis set out to study how the competition among males shapes their evolution. He began breeding two groups of flies — one polygamous, the other monogamous.

    In 2011, he took his flies to the University of Lausanne, where he met Dr. Kawecki, an expert on learning. The two scientists wondered if the different mating habits of Dr. Hollis’s flies had altered their brains.

    To find out, the researchers gave the flies a learning test. They began by teaching the flies to be scared of a particular smell. They would put a smelly piece of paraffin into the tubes where the flies lived, and after 30 seconds, the scientists gave the tubes a violent shake. After many such experiences, the flies learned to associate the smell with the shaking.

    An hour later, the scientists tested how well they had learned. The flies were put in a tunnel that ended with a T intersection. From one side they smelled the dangerous odor, and from the other they smelled a harmless one. Dr. Hollis and Dr. Kawecki then observed which way the flies walked.

    The results were stark. The monogamous flies were much more likely to wander toward the dangerous smell than the polygamous ones. In other words, they had done a much worse job of learning.

    “I think this is a compelling and interesting study,” said Emilie Snell-Rood of the University of Minnesota, who was not involved in the research. The experiment, she said, suggests that the struggle to find a mate favors the evolution of better learning.

    The evolution of learning remains a puzzle for scientists. A smart animal can learn how to find more food or how to avoid predators. But if learning were such an unalloyed good, then one might expect all animals to be as smart as we are.

    They are not because there is a cost to learning. Dr. Kawecki and his colleagues have found that flies that have been bred to be good learners are more likely to die when competing for scarce food with regular flies. Even when they’re not threatened with starvation, their life span is 15 percent shorter than average.

    Continue reading the main storyVideo

    1. ScienceTake: Fight Club for Flies Why are males aggressive? Researchers have found clues in the brains of fruit flies.
      It’s still not clear why that is so. Changes to the nervous system that come with learning may cause long-term damage of some sort, or learning may simply use up energy that could be directed to other uses.

      Continue reading the main story
      Because of the cost, evolution may increase learning only when its benefits outweigh its drawbacks — such as when it affects mating. Dr. Hollis and Dr. Kawecki suspect that fast-learning males may be able to swiftly recognize receptive females, and thus mate with more of them before they die. Forcing the flies into monogamy, on the other hand, gets rid of learning’s benefits, leaving only the cost behind.

      To test this idea, Dr. Hollis and Dr. Kawecki compared the mating prowess of the evolved flies. They put a group of male flies in a vial with one receptive female and five unreceptive ones and tallied how many mated in an hour. The scientists found that the polygamous males quickly zeroed in on the receptive female. The monogamous males, on the other hand, wasted time courting unreceptive females and being rejected.

      “They’re just not figuring it out,” said Dr. Hollis.

      While no one has yet carried out an experiment like this on other species, Dr. Hollis suspects that the relationship between sex and the evolution of learning might apply beyond flies — perhaps even to our own species.

      “I think it really can inform us quite a lot about what’s going on in nature, and why we have the brains we have,” said Dr. Hollis.

      It's The Maria Effect

  5. What's going on in Venezuela is the final death agonies of the failed Napoleonic Code System.

    1. What's going on in the Ukraine is the Rooskies don't want to lose control of their naval base.

      My grandfather raised a wheat early at the beginning of last century called Red Rooskie that was so tall he could walk right into and disappear.

      The wheat breeders bred the tall stalk out. Something new and different. Nothing new and different about the Rooskies wanting to protect their naval base.

  6. Radioactive Gambling Theory Confirmed

    Day 12

    2 days of loses

    10 days of gains

    Way, way ahead.

    How you like those odds, suckers?

    1. What are the odds anyone cares?

      Why don't you open a new thread, and tell anyone that does, all about it.

      Get off mine. Go start your own.

    2. Poor baby......

      Can dish it out, but can't take it?

      I'm turnin' in. Might be back during a periodic piss time if someone puts up something interesting.

    3. Just tellin' you what you told me, Farmer Bob.

      I'll stay off the threads that you post, if you stay off the ones I post.
      Seems fair to me.

      heh, heh, heh

    4. .

      Now. Now, girls. Play nice.


  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Here is a depiction in art of an attempted breakup of The Napoleonic Code System some time ago -

      It's also a first modern depiction of the impersonalityof armies. Notice the executioners are robotic, inhuman, faceless...

      While the main victim is surely an identifiable human being.

      French troops are taking a beating in Venezuela as I type.

      The Prado in Madrid is truly wonderful.

      Niece and I plan to visit it this summer.

    2. “Announcing your plans is a good way to hear god laugh”
      ― David Milch


  8. Netanyahu: “Peace? No thanks but…

    …I’ll accept the box of chocolates”

    By Alan Hart

    I have long thought that Dr Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee and the Palestine Legislative Council, is the most articulate spokesperson in the Israeli occupied territory for her cause. Her latest comment is a bleak assessment of the prospects for getting a real peace process going. She was responding to a statement by an Obama administration official that both Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be able to “express reservations about individual provisions” in the framework document Secretary of State John Kerry is preparing. Here’s what Ashrawi said:

    A framework that allowed each side to voice reservations would be self-negating…
    Any document not based firmly on international law will become a box of chocolates. You can pick and choose what you want… Why have it? Is it just to maintain a semblance of progress?
    Is it meant to buy more time? Or is it not to admit we have failed?

  9. If Napoleon hadn't screwed the pooch with his very ill planned and ill equiped invasion of Russia, and had done it right, and the grand armee had taken Moscow and been able to hold on, well, we'd have the Napoleonic Code in effect in Ukraine, would we not?, and all would be well.

    Both the troubles in Ukraine and in Venezuela can be laid at the feet of stupid Napoleon and his damned code.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I see The Jewish Topic has slithered back in, as everyone knew it would, eventually.

      Might as well slip it in, although it has nothing to do with the topic at hand, about which no one but Ash and Bob have commented.

      And Ash is not bright enough to see the inner connections between Napoleon and Venezuela, so, the whole thread is really quite lost.

      Time to turn to the Jews on this thread.......

      Time for bed, again, here.

    2. Not one word about Jews or Jewish issues, until Farmer Bob brought it up.
      The issues, discussed, prior o his injection of Judaism were Sovereign States, not religion.

      Anyone that would conflate the two, Religion and Politics, do so for propaganda purposes.
      They do it to change the subject.
      They do it to avoid debate and discussion of the real issues.

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.


      ***Anderson, who signed a lease with an energy company and is now also getting royalty checks from oil production, said the money he's received has changed his outlook on work.

      "Now I don't think about having to go back to work. This is my work. I maintain the property," he said of his 500-plus acres. "I watch after the timber and I feed the deer and the turkeys, and that's what I do for a living now."***

      Maybe Ruf's attitude towards the evil oil companies will change when they find oil under place...........

      Shale brings high hopes in Mississippi, Louisiana
      Shale formation could finally prove lucrative for parts of Mississippi and Louisiana
      Associated Press By Jeff Amy, Associated Press
      13 hours ago
      Shale brings high hopes in Mississippi, Louisiana
      View photo
      In this Dec. 23, 2013 photograph, Amite County Supervisor Max Lawson describes the convoy of about 200 trucks carting in a drilling rig and other gear on what was pasture land at his Gillsburg, Miss., farm. After a little more than a two-year wait, Encana Corp., contractors were finally drilling. Oil companies plan a big increase in drilling activity in 2014 in southwest Mississippi. They're trying to extract oil from a formation called the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, which one study says could hold 7 billion barrels. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

      GILLSBURG, Miss. (AP) -- Residents living above an oil-rich shale formation that stretches across southwest Mississippi and Louisiana have been waiting on a boom for years. A steady trickle of drilling is already boosting the rural region's economy, and spending by two oil companies could make 2014 the year that many other locals finally cash in on the oil far beneath their feet.

      Already, Max Lawson has spent hours watching the round-the-clock work of shoving pipe into the ground in his back pasture. The process began two years ago when Encana Corp. built a big gravel pad, but didn't take off until late last year when a convoy of 200 trucks carted in a drilling rig and other equipment to bore into the earth looking for oil.

      "They call it the Gillsburg Christmas tree," he said while standing near the brightly lit rig. "It looks like a little city over here at night."

      Gillsburg and surrounding Amite County lie above a prime section of the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, a geologic formation that stretches in boomerang shape across Louisiana's midsection and into southern Mississippi. Drillers have known about the formation north of the Gulf of Mexico for years, but affordable technology to remove the oil from the shale's tight pores was slow to develop.

      Thanks partly to advances in hydraulic fracturing techniques, Encana Corp. and Goodrich Petroleum plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in the area in 2014. So far, Goodrich and others have drilled more than 30 wells across the region, trying to find the right methods.

      Goodrich Chief Operating Officer Robert Turnham said that number could double or triple in the area straddling the state line just this year if drillers continue to make progress.

      "It's at a stage where you need more wells that have consistent results, that show the repeatable results there are in other plays," Turnham said.

      Louisiana State University scientists estimate the formation holds 7 billion barrels of oil, though that total isn't proven yet. Most of it is a light, sweet crude that can be sold to refiners for more than $100 a barrel. By comparison, the federal government estimates that the U.S. has about 40 billion barrels of proved oil reserves.;_ylt=AwrBJSCVgw9T7mIA.A3QtDMD

    2. Farmer Bob, where is the photo.

      There is a photo mentioned, in the post, why did you not start a new thread to display it?
      If you refuse to start a new thread, why did you not edit the paste to reflect that truth.

      Why post items with out all the data?

      You have the capability to do so.

      Are you lacking in ability, or just lack the imagination?
      Are you lacking the mental capacity to utilize your capabilities?
      Or are the social responsibilities of providing quality information to the reader just to much for you to handle?

    3. Here's the link to the photo.;_ylt=AwrBJSCVgw9T7mIA.A3QtDMD

      Do you know how to use it?

      If not, ask Ash.

    4. Do not need a link to see the photo, YOU need to post it in a new thread.

      If you will not post the photo, don't mention it.

      The quality of your work product, sucks.
      Get with the program, Farmer Bob.

      Improve, even incrementally, or get out!
      Get off MY thread, quit following me around the Libertarian.

  12. California produced approx. 100,000 Megawatt hours of Electricity from Renewables, yesterday.

    100,000 mw hrs

  13. (Reuters) - Armed men took control of two airports in the Crimea region on Friday in what Ukraine's new leadership described as an invasion and occupation by Moscow's forces, and ousted President Viktor Yanukovich reappeared in Russia after a week on the run.

    Yanukovich said he would continue the struggle for Ukraine's future as tension soared on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, the only region with an ethnic Russian majority and last major bastion of resistance to the overthrow of the Moscow-backed leader.

    More than 10 Russian military helicopters flew into Ukrainian airspace on Friday over Crimea, Kiev's border guard service said, accusing Russian servicemen of blockading one of its units in the port city of Sevastopol, where part of Moscow's Black Sea fleet is based.

    The fleet denied its forces were involved in seizing one of the airports, Interfax news agency reported, while a supporter described the armed group at the other site merely as Crimean militiamen.

    Moscow has promised to defend the interests of its citizens in Ukraine.

    1. Where's the link? People might wish to read the whole article..

      By the way, that use of deep black print is really dramatic, a true blogging innovation.

    2. No link needed.
      Did not mention photos or make any other reference to the piece which would necessitate the reader to look..

      If you want to 'learn more' look it up, on your own.
      Reuters is easy to reference.

    3. Now, now, that is really really lame, Jack.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. There are some fools that advocate that India should become a NATO member ...
      Even though it is far, far, away from the North Atlantic.

      Iranian Foreign Minister and, Indian Vice President Meet in New Delhi, Discuss Broad Issues
      February 28, 2014 -

      TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Iranian foreign minister in a Friday meeting with India’s vice president elaborated on the Islamic Republic’s general foreign policy stances, and mulled over the other issues of mutual interest.

      Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, now in India for an official visit, held a meeting with the Indian vice president, Hamid Ansari, in capital New Delhi on Friday morning.

      The Iranian top diplomat arrived in the populous Asian country earlier on Thursday on a two-day official visit.

      During the get-together this morning, Zarif elaborated on the foreign policy pursued by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, and discussed Tehran-New Delhi mutual cooperation, as well as regional and international developments with the Indian vice president.

      Moreover, Zarif expressed the hope that Iran and India would forge stronger partnership in the political, economic and cultural arenas in light of their long-standing friendship.

      Ansari, for his part, touched upon the historical ties between Iran and India, and emphasized the need for the enhancement of bilateral relations.

      The Indian vice president also hailed Iran’s “strategic role” in providing security across the region.

      NATO membership for the SLAVERS of India, right ....

      ARF, ARF, ARF!

  15. Meanwhile the Israeli complain the IAEA will not make public a report on Iran ...

    But Bibi will not even allow the IAEA into Israel...

    Walkin' and talkin' bullshit at the same time, those Israeli have it down to a science.

    1. There we GO!

      Let it all hang out, Jack !!

      Those last two posts, the rat's back in your saddle now, Jack !!!

      Walkin' and talkin' bullshit at the same time, Jackrat is.........


    2. Who?

      What are you rambling on about, now, Farmer Bob?

      Does the subject of Israel and its aggressions against the Palestinian people, its aggression towards Syria and Lebanon rile you?

      Put some facts, don't use baseless Ad Hominem, you are dragging the blog into the muck and mire.

      Right into the toilet, with your Ad Hominem attacks.

      Go start your own thread.

    3. It should have read.

      Put UP some facts ..

      If you object to the subject, ignore it, or answer it with facts, figures and the truth.
      Does Israel allow the IAEA into israel to inspect, either the civilian or military nuclear programs that the Israeli have ...

      We all know the answer is NO! they do not.
      The Israeli are nuclear rogues, just like North Korea.

      Why don't you, Farmer Bob, go start a thread of your own?

    4. E-mail your Conga Team members and find out what the facts from their perception are.

      Then you can post the FACTS, as they see them.

      But not their hateful and bigoted Ad Hominem attacks on contributors that are not even members of the 'Club'.

      The world has turned to a new page, Farmer bob, get on it or get off.

      Ash has got some boots, maybe he'll allow you to perform some solo shacking with them.

      heh, heh, heh.


  16. Mexican militias take fight against cartel to key port city

    Morelia, Mexico, Feb 27 (EFE).- The militias that emerged a year ago in the western Mexican state of Michoacan to defend communities from a powerful drug cartel are expanding their presence on the Pacific coast, officials said.

    Roughly 200 men armed with assault rifles gathered Wednesday on Caleta de Campos beach near the key port of Lazaro Cardenas, a source in the state government told Efe.

    Clad in bulletproof vests and carrying walkie-talkies, the men urged area residents to join the struggle against the Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar) drug cartel, which has used extortion and murder to extend its tentacles into legitimate business.

    Some 60 other vigilantes took control of Opopeo, a town in the Purepecha Indian territory, the source said.

    Militia members set up late Wednesday a checkpoint on a road running parallel to the Siglo XXI expressway that links Morelia, Michoacan's capital, with the state's Pacific coast.

    Members and supporters of Michoacan's self-defense groups organized an event Monday to mark the one-year anniversary of their founding.

    Backed by local business interests, the militias filled a vacuum created by the failure of state and municipal authorities to halt the depredations of the Templarios, who co-opted many of Michoacan's politicians.

    Federal Police and army troops have been deployed in Michoacan for the past month as part of a bid by Mexico's government to crush the Templarios and bring the militias under the formal control of the military.

    Many of the Michoacan vigilantes have signed up for an army-controlled Rural Defense Corps.

  17. Replies
    1. Best post today. Only post today worth a bird dropping.

      There's a term for that in Rupert Sheldrake, a type of his 'morphic resonance' I think.

      Other scientists think they are just 'following the leader'.

      The mystery remains.

      My blessed aunt loved birds but hated starlings for some reason, I think because they were always making life difficult for her robins, blue birds, etc. Neither I, nor she, I am sure, have ever seen flocks in those large concentrations out this way.

  18. .

    The CBO and its economic projections for 2014 and beyond.

    The part of the past that you deem most relevant can be critical in determining your outlook for the future. And nowhere is that clearer than in the changing economic forecasts that come out of the Congressional Budget Office.

    This year’s short-term and long-term economic forecasts are substantially worse than last year’s, even though the economy performed better than expected in 2013. What changed was that the C.B.O. economists essentially decided that they would no longer treat the recent years of poor economic performance as a sort of outlier. They have seen enough of a slow economy to begin to think that we should get used to sluggishness.

    They think that Americans will earn less than they previously expected, that fewer of them will want jobs and that fewer will get them. They think companies will invest less and earn less. The economy, as measured by growth in real gross domestic product, will settle into a prolonged period in which it grows at an average rate of just 2.1 percent. From 2019 through 2024, job growth will average less than 70,000 a month...

    The author of the article disagrees with the CBO's dire forecast.


    1. Well, the CBO does have, probably, the worst forecasting record of any organization that participates in such activities.

    2. That said, I'm afraid they might be right on this one.

    3. You take the USA out of the equation, and world oil production was lower in 2013 than it was in 2005.


    4. If you go


      you will find that between 1996 and 2005 World Oil Production was Increasing at a rate of about One Million Barrels/Day every year.

      Starting in 2005, World Production has increased by about 1/5 th that amount.

      And, this year production was only up by less than 1/10 th that amount.

    5. While since 2009 the United States has been doing what, other than increasing production.

      That Obama, he's not an Oil Man, or even beholding to "Big Oil" ...
      The result ...
      Domestic oil production has greatly increased.

  19. Someone should put up a thread that is interesting.

    Ash? Quirk? Melody?

    Anybody !

    Faucet Time, ah, even that is more interesting.....

  20. "UPDATE: Russia Seeks Access to Bases in 8 Countries for Its Ships, Bombers...

    Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua..."


    Weakness is provocative, but of course we all already knew that.

    ...some are just in a State of Paulian Denial.

    1. The Russians will use ports in those countries, okay.

      What are they going to dock, there?

      They don't even have ships for the bases they have, in Russia.

      The lack of up-to-date infrastructure has been the scourge of the Russian Navy since when Russia was an Empire. The weak overhaul base of Vladivostok and Port Arthur had largely exacerbated the plight of Russia’s 1st Pacific Squadron during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. Similar overhaul problems plagued the Soviet Navy action in the Arctic Circle during the Second World War. Finally, the Soviet Navy, armed with nuclear missiles, failed to get an appropriate infrastructure during the Cold War years. The shortage of docks, properly-equipped quays, no power feeding for waterfront facilities etc. caused many ships to lie out, while using their own resource.

      The first effort to improve base infrastructure on the Pacific was made at the Vilyuchinsk base, where the first Pacific submarine of the Project 955, Alexander Nevsky, is due to arrive later this year.

      The Vladivostok naval base has also been brought up-to-date, with the quays almost fully rebuilt by the APEC summit, and other infrastructure elements, from warehouses to barracks, largely renovated. But the Vladivostokamphibious assault ship will be based a little farther, in Ulysses Bay.

      They built a submarine and have an empty naval base, that the bulk of their Pacific presence.

      Fear mongering is provocative, too.

    2. It may not be a new submarine, just a reassigned one.

    3. The 45,000 ton Vikramaditya was originally a Russian Kiev class carrier that served in the Russian Navy from 1987 to 1995, but was then withdrawn from service because the navy could not afford to keep the carrier operational.


  21. Ousted Leader Seeks Russian Aid as Tensions Rise in Crimea

    MOSCOW — Viktor F. Yanukovych, the ousted president of Ukraine, declared on Thursday that he remained the lawful president of the country and appealed to Russia to “secure my personal safety from the actions of extremists.” Russian news agencies reported that he had already arrived in Russia, but officials did not immediately confirm that.

    Mr. Yanukovych’s remarks were his first since he appeared in a video on Saturday night after fleeing Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, for eastern Ukraine. His defiance of the country’s new interim leaders only deepened the political turmoil in the country and threatened to draw Russia more deeply into the conflict.

    Mr. Yanukovych, in a letter published by news agencies here, went on to suggest that largely Russian regions of Ukraine – including the east and Crimea – did not accept “the anarchy and outright lawlessness” that had gripped the country and said that orders by the new authorities to use the armed forces to impose order were unlawful. He clearly meant the response to pro-Russia demonstrations in Crimea, which took an ugly turn on Thursday morning when armed gunmen seized control of the regional Parliament in Simferopol.

    “I, as the actual president, have not allowed the armed forces of Ukraine to interfere in the ongoing internal political events,” he said, contradicting early reports that he had ordered the military to intervene in Kiev, only to have his order rebuffed. “I continue to order this. In the case that anyone begins to give a similar order to the armed forces and power structures, those orders will be unlawful and criminal.”

  22. Armed
    Men Take Position at Two Airports in Crimea Region

    As the possibility of a showdown between Ukraine’s
    fledgling government and the Kremlin appeared to grow, airports at Simferopol
    and Belbek were being patrolled by uniformed men carrying rifles.

  23. Nice Map of the Ethnic makeup of the Ukraine

    The Ukraine in Maps

    Ukraine's political split reflects a deeper cultural divide in the country. In the 2010 presidential election, the opposition won in all of Ukraine's western provinces, where most people speak Ukrainian rather than Russian and many call for deeper economic and political ties with Europe.

  24. Shacking -

    a term used when a member of one sex spontaneously spends the night with a member of the opposite sex in a non-platonic way, usually following a night of bar-going or after a fabulous date.

    Only a deviant, like Farmer Bob would equate boots with sex.


    There are reports on some frozen Idehoe nights, of (preferably fur-lined) boots being employed in sex acts not involving other individuals.

    1. If only Idehoe had warm water ports like Crimea.

      Boots in the morning, sailors take warning.

    2. Lewiston, Idaho IS a warm water port, nitwit. !


      I am....out the door, having spent the last half four with a credit card fraud alert person.

      "It pay's to have a port"

      Q: "Port costs a lot, but is worth it."

    3. So if I can paddle a canoe from Redding, CA to the San Francisco Bay, Redding has a warm water port?

    4. "745 feet above sea level"

      How the heck does that work?

      You got levitation in Lewiston?

    5. Farmer Bob is talking about wine, Doug

    6. It's been years since I've had a port.

      Goes well w/dope, but of course, you already knew that.

  25. Naval Air: India Returns To The Good Old Days

    February 16, 2014: On February 7th an Indian pilot landed a MiG-29K on the new Indian aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya for the first time. A Russian pilot was in the back seat to advise but the landing went off with no problem. Indian carrier pilots had been practicing on Vikramaditya size land air strips. This was not the first time a MiG-29K landed on the Vikramaditya. That happened in July 2013 while the Vikramaditya was still in Russia undergoing sea trials. A Russian pilot handled those landings and takeoffs using the carriers "ski jump" flight deck. During the July operations the Russians also tested their Su-35 carrier fighter landing and taking off from the Vikramaditya.

    The new Indian carriers is using the new STOBAR (short-takeoff-but-assisted recovery) system. STOBAR is simpler, and cheaper, to build and maintain than earlier catapult launch systems, which used a more robust assisted (with stronger arrestor wires) landing systems. The Vikramaditya will operate with 16 MiG-29K jets and twelve helicopters. India has used vertical takeoff (Harrier) combat aircraft on carriers since the 1980s. With the MiG-29 India returns to using regular fixed-wing aircraft on carriers. These aircraft can carry more weapons and fuel than vertical takeoff planes.

    On November 30th, 2013, three months after Vikramaditya had finally completed its sea trials off the northern coast of Russia the carrier set off for India and arrived in early January. All this was good news, especially since the Vikramaditya saga had been one long string of disappointments for so long. India was supposed to take possession of the Vikramaditya by late 2012, but that was delayed until early 2013, and then delayed until late 2013. Some of the Indian crew have been working with the Vikramaditya for two years by then, learning about all the ship's systems.

    1. For the trip home Vikramaditya was accompanied by an Indian frigate and a tanker carrying fuel for both ships. As they entered the Mediterranean they were met by two more Indian warships (a destroyer and a frigate) and all five ships proceeded, via the Suez Canal, to a naval base outside Karwar, a city halfway down the west coast of India. Vikramaditya is to be fully operational by July 2014.

      In addition to being late, the ship was way over budget. There were also problems when it was finally completed in 2012, eight years after negotiations began. Finding and fixing problems seemed like an endless process. Even the first attempt at sea trials in 2012 found some problems with the engines (and several other items) which took over six months to get fixed. Getting the Vikramaditya to this point has been an epic saga to incompetence, bad communications, shoddy work, and inept shipyard management. Even by Russian standards the Vikramaditya project was a huge mess. In addition to being very late, the original cost has more than doubled.

      Aside from the engine failure (a major flaw), the 2012 sea trials off the north coast (Barents Sea) of Russia did not reveal any other major problems. In all other respects the ship appeared to be in working order. The engine safety system, for example, detected the overheating and shut down the engines before any serious damage could be done. Other safety systems on the ship also worked well, and the Russians pointed out that there were problems with some Western equipment the Indians insisted on using. Most importantly, in 2012 the carrier experienced its first landing by a MiG-29. Any other equipment problems noted during the sea trials were fixed while the engine insulation system is rebuilt.

      The 45,000 ton Vikramaditya was originally a Russian Kiev class carrier that served in the Russian Navy from 1987 to 1995, but was then withdrawn from service because the navy could not afford to keep the carrier operational. The ship was put up for sale in 1996 and in 2005. India agreed to buy it if a few changes could be made. India ended up paying over $2.3 billion to refurbish the Kiev class ship and turn it into the Vikramaditya.

      India - Candidate for NATO membership ... NOT!

  26. So the high point of the Panama Canal is 85 feet and Lewiston is 765?

    Bob's got some splaining to do.

    1. Navigation is fuel-efficient. A ton of commodity goods can move 524 miles by barge on one gallon of fuel, compared to 202 miles by rail and 59 miles by truck.

    2. Major engineering feat, to get a ship 85 feet above sea level, Doug.

      Lots and lots of excavation, a couple of dams, one of which is quite substantial. Five locks and the related equipment.

      The expansion project, is moving forward, slowly.

    3. Pictures of the Mules going up steep inclines is something I never imagined...

      Bet they wait to tug on the boat again 'til they're back on the level.

    4. What's going on with a sea level canal?

    5. If the locks on the Panama Canal were blown, would one ocean pour into the other?

      April 8, 1988
      Dear Cecil:

      Would one ocean pour into the other if the locks on the Panama Canal were blown? If not, let's say a mile-deep trench were dug from coast to coast. Would there be flooding then, huh?

      — Eliot R., Los Angeles

      Cecil replies:

      No, you mollusk. They don't have locks on the Panama Canal because one ocean is higher than the other, they have them because the land is higher in the middle — 85 feet higher, to be exact. As I have explained in the past, the level of the sea is more or less uniform throughout the world, making the concept of "sea level" possible.

      But that's not to say you wouldn't get any flow from one ocean to the other if somebody dug your "mile-deep trench" from coast to coast. Scientists studying the feasibility of a sea-level canal (not a mile deep, but deep enough) have found that the Pacific at Panama is about eight inches higher than the Atlantic on average due to currents and such. In addition, tidal variation on the Pacific side of Panama is much greater than on the Atlantic side — 20 feet vs. 1 foot.

      That means the Pacific would flow into the Atlantic through the sea-level canal, producing currents that could reach nearly 6 MPH. While that wouldn't cause flooding, it would definitely complicate navigation.

      But that's the least of the problems a sea-level canal would present. It would also allow Pacific and Atlantic marine species to mingle, with unpredictable but probably bad consequences for the environment. Worse, constructing it would require either (1) tens of billions of dollars or (2) nuclear explosives. So don't expect it any time soon.

      — Cecil Adams


    7. A sea level canal would require nuclear demolition, which is not politically acceptable.

      That and it'd be in Nicaragua.

      Two of the 'practical' requirements that make the project 'undoable'

    8. If the locks were 'blown', the water from Gatun Lake and the Chagres River would flow into the ocean, the water from the Pacific would not reach the Atlantic, or visa versa.

  27. LEXINGTON, Miss. (AP) — Workers at a Mississippi funeral home say they found a man alive and kicking when they opened a body bag.

    Holmes County Coroner Dexter Howard calls it a miracle that 78-year-old Walter Williams is alive.

    The coroner was called to Williams' home in Lexington, a community north of Jackson, where family members believed he had died.

    Howard says Williams had no pulse and was pronounced dead Wednesday at 9 p.m.

    Early Thursday, workers at Porter and Sons Funeral Home were preparing to embalm Williams when he started to kick in the body bag.

    Family members were called and Williams was taken to a hospital. Howard says he believes Williams' pacemaker stopped working, then started again.

    Family members say Williams, a farmer, told them he's happy to be alive.

    1. Farmer Walt

      Wonder if Farmer Bob will be so lucky.

  28. Mao “was happiest and most satisfied with several young women simultaneously sharing his bed,” Li writes. “He encouraged his sexual partners to introduce him to others for shared orgies, allegedly in the interest of his longevity and strength.”
    Mao chose handsome young men as personal attendants, who among other duties were expected to massage his groin nightly to help him fall asleep. “For a while I took such behavior as evidence of a homosexual strain,” Li says, “but later I concluded that it was simply an insatiable appetite for any form of sex.”
    Mao was a carrier of a parasitic STD but refused treatment, spreading the disease among his partners. He further refused to bathe or clean his genitals, receiving only nightly rubdowns with hot towels. “I wash myself inside the bodies of my women,” he told Li. For what it’s worth, he apparently also never brushed his teeth. This may not sound like a kink to you, but you didn’t have to kiss him.

  29. .

    From Politico, a rogues gallery of US friends around the world.

    I would simply point out that there are probably 1 or 2 others that are missing.


  30. Good thread Jack. Thanks for stepping up.

  31. .

    Is one member of the JCS planning on resigning over budget cuts?

    Who cares. Let him go.

    One member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is considering resigning in protest over recent defense cuts, says Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).

    The ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast on Thursday that the nation’s top military officers have privately expressed their discontent with the continuing budget uncertainty at the Defense Department.

    Time magazine's Mark Thompson asked Inhofe, “How close do you think [the chiefs] are to saying, ‘Screw this, I'm out of here?’”

    “I'm not going to tell you who they are, but there's one who's very close to doing just what you're suggesting,” responded Inhofe. His role on the Senate Armed Services Committee entails frequent meetings with top military commanders.


    1. He shouldn't let the door hit his ass, on the way out.

      An Amero to a doughnut that the President will be able to fill that slot, with a qualified replacement. in an hour, maybe less.