Putin and Crimea

If Putin had just waited, hisĀ Soviet Union probably could have gotten Crimea back without firing a shot. From Wikipedia:

The Cimmerians, Bulgars, Greeks, Scythians, Goths, Huns, Khazars, the state of Kievan Rus’, Byzantine Greeks, Kipchaks, Ottoman Turks, Golden Horde Tatars and the Mongols each controlled Crimea in its earlier history. In the 13th century, it was partly controlled by the Venetians and by the Genoese; they were followed by the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire in the 15th to 18th centuries, the Russian Empire in the 18th to 20th centuries, Germany during World War II and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and later the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, within the Soviet Union during the rest of the 20th century until Crimea became part of independent Ukraine with the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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The OSS and Ho Chi Minh

“Some will be shocked to find out that the United States and Ho Chi Minh, our nemesis for much of the Vietnam War, were once allies. Indeed, during the last year of World War II, American spies in Indochina found themselves working closely with Ho Chi Minh” – excerpt from the article link. See it in COMMENTARY.

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Milton Friedman Then and Now

Here’s a comment I posted to Huffington Post, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of economist Milton Friedman …

The Chicago School of Economics was always conservative. More than any other economist, Milton Friedman made it synonymous with ultraconservative. Friedman was a brilliant advocate of free-market economics, but he was no ideologue. With elimination of controls, laissez-faire thinkers like Friedman (and Greenspan) envisioned increased competition, a healthy business and social environment, more jobs, a higher standard of living, and lower prices. That was the theory.

What we got was “too big to fail” mega-mergers, corrupt business practice, decreased competition, layoffs and mortgage defaults, a thrust-fault slippage of the standard of living, higher prices, and the biggest global economic catastrophe since 1929. As a consolation prize, we got Citizens United to remind us what a monumental achievement this was.

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Showing Him The Door

When Cambridge finally demolished their pioneering Computer Technology Lab, to make room for a new one, a heritage site where one of the world’s first electronic computers was designed and built was literally and unceremoniously dumped on the scrap heap. One of the researchers rescued a door from the heap, painted in an old green enamel, because it was the only green door in the old lab, and had therefore once been attached to the office of Sir Maurice Wilkes, Cambridge’s legendary pioneer of computing.

As told by David Hartley to the San Jose Computer History Museum in a May 11, 2011 interview, when Sir Maurice finally retired, they hauled the rescued green door out of the basement, affixed a brass plaque to it, and presented it to Wilkes as part of his retirement ceremony. But he wasn’t allowed to take the door home. So then, what did they do with it?

Hartley said, from that day on, whenever a distinguished colleague and pioneer would retire, “we would put another brass plaque on the green door, give him a nice speech, and show him the door.”

— for more information about Sir Maurice Wilkes and the interview with Hartley, see http://www.computerhistory.org/events/past/#sir-maurice-wilkes-man-his

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On Being Careful What We Wish For

I wrote the quote below early this morning, posting it to my Facebook status and quotes database. The old truism says, “be careful what we wish for, because we just might get it.” To take one example out of so many, just look at the events leading the people of Germany into World War II: unemployment, inflation, civil unrest. Many there thought they saw a way out of a troubled two decades. The world remembers well the inexorable march of terror, secrecy and butchery that followed. Their nation was pushed into the Third Reich, albeit on false pretenses in a chaotic political time, but inescapably, this could not have happened without popular support. Mostly, ordinary citizens said they imagined their candidate would at least make the trains run on time, didn’t they?

Once we citizens elect any politician on a promise to denigrate, deny or obstruct equal rights for others, even others of whom we may disapprove, no longer can we trust in our own equal access to justice and fair play — even when we were secure in those beliefs before. — Alex Forbes

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PBS NewsHour: Book Tells How Iconic Civil Rights Era Photo Changed Lives of 2 Women

As Judy Woodruff said by way of introduction to this clip, “Sometimes one picture is worth a thousand words … but sometimes, one picture can change lives.” The story of how one iconic civil rights era photograph changed the lives of two women is the subject of David Margolick’s new book, “Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock.” Ray Suarez and the Vanity Fair editor discuss the not-yet-finished story.(Interview by Ray Suarez, embedded video clip 8:54)

Watch Book Tells How Iconic Civil Rights Era Photo Changed Lives of 2 Women on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

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