The Crimean Affair

I say, the Crimeans made their own bed; let them lie in it.

At this writing, it appears official that the Russian Duma has accepted the Crimean vote to again become part of Russia, and Vladimir Putin has just signed that annexation into law. The West will wail and wring its collective hands, asserting (correctly) that this was a violation of the Ukrainian constitution.

But, wait a minute. All of Ukraine was part of the USSR until its 1989 break-up. It still consists of three separate regions and ethnic groups: Crimea, predominantly Russian-speaking, Russian Orthodox and identifying as “Russian,” Eastern Ukraine, the same, and Western Ukraine (Kiev), predominantly bilingual (Ukrainian being the primary language) and predominantly Roman Catholic and pro-West.

Crimea also has a sizable Tatar minority of Muslims, said to be around 15%, who were treated brutally by Russia and largely expelled from Crimea under the old USSR. Crimea has changed hands many times since the 1100′s, but identifying as “Russian” is nothing new.

Ukraine, on the other hand, was a shotgun marriage of different regions by the USSR. Since their notoriously corrupt President Viktor Yanukovych fled for his life, Ukraine’s provisional government has been in a shambles. It is ill-equipped at the moment to deal with what, from its perspective, is a grave national crisis.

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Nature: Optical detection of radio waves through a nanomechanical transducer

“Many applications, from medical imaging and radio astronomy to navigation and wireless communication, depend on the faithful transmission and detection of weak radio-frequency microwaves … signals can be transferred directly into standard optical fibres rather than copper wires …” From the Nature journal. In Computers & Technology.

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McCain on Ukraine

I caught Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) on the Charlie Rose show today. As an ex-military man, McCain seems to understand Comrade Putin’s designs on Crimea quite well enough. On the domestic front, though, he joins the U.S. right-wing hue and cry that the Obama Administration is just sitting on its hands doing nothing, whereas every good ex-military officer know that tough retaliatory action is the only thing Putin understands.

Like so many in our minority party, McCain sees things through a special filter. This filter passes all the colors of the spectrum except Blue. It also picks up artifacts in the spectrum that won’t show in any bandpass filter, because they don’t exist.

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Your Questions on Ukraine – Daily KOS

Link:

Why did Obama let this happen, and other questions on Ukraine

  1. Why did U.S. President Barack Obama let this happen?That’s the question everyone in Washington, DC is asking. It’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask—if you are incapable of seeing beyond the very dark hole into which you’ve placed your entire head.

A clever (and tongue in cheek) 6-point review of the Ukraine situation. From the Daily KOS. George W. Bush, out of Ukraine NOW!

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Putin and Crimea

If Putin had just waited, his 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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Bee Brook ice locked, by Richard Wanderman

thumbnail, featured image“Bee Brook ice locked” by my friend Richard Wanderman, on Flickr. Ricoh Imaging GR, high contrast JPEG. Macricostas Preserve, Washington, Connecticut, March 1, 2014. Richard says, “Bee Brook was also quite photogenic although it was tough to get down near the water because the snow and ice would collapse under our feet and going into the brook wasn’t something we wanted to do on a cold day…” See post for image in PHOTOS.

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Retired Old Folks Union (ROFU)

It is important to take days off. We owe it to ourselves. In fact, it is an important duty and function of the Retired Old Folks Union (ROFU) Rules. When a friend is considering working on a given day, it is our civic duty as Members to talk our friend out of it. Anybody can work (well, almost), but it takes experience and talent to become truly proficient in the art of relaxation. Low Work Motivation (LWM) is essential. We have a fund to send High Motivation individuals to special deprogramming rehabilitation farms, where we’ve planted special varieties of wild grasses for watching, owing to their slow growth rates.

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Need Rain? Save a Forest.

From nature, international weekly journal of science :

 

Earth & Environmental Sciences

More Earth & Environmental sciences ▼
A large source of low-volatility secondary organic aerosol

Forests emit huge quantities of volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere and their oxidation forms secondary organic aerosols that scatter solar radiation and act as cloud seeds. The mechanism of formation of aerosol particles remains unclear, but this study identifies some of the intermediate compounds that aid aerosol formation. These findings could help improve assessments of biosphere-aerosol-climate feedback mechanisms, and the air quality and climate effects of emissions produced by vegetation.

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Arizona’s New Anti-Gay Bill

My cousin wrote me today expressing shock at the Arizona legislature’s passage of a blatantly rabid anti-gay bill. The bill has not been signed by the Governor, and it is not yet law. The bill would allow business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays and others.

If somehow you missed it, you can read about the legislation any most anywhere. But here is The New York Times link.

I wrote back to my cousin:

Thanks for your support! AZ Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill a few years back, and I suspect she’ll veto this one. I understand there are already a very few anticipatory signs up in shop windows. There are so many places to eat and shop in big cities like Phoenix that a merchant with such a sign is just advertising, “we aren’t much interested in staying in business” or maybe even “I hate my plate glass window.” In small towns, and AZ has lots of those, there is bigger potential for harm and hurtfulness.

In the Phoenix Metro area (and in Tucson) there are large Democratic and moderate Republican populations and they are pretty good places for everyone to live. As for the bill itself, if actually passed into law, I think it would be struck down in the higher courts. That is not to say it isn’t dangerous, but that mindset belongs to a shrinking and discredited minority.”

And here, from the New York Daily News, is what one Tucson businessman did in response to the bill: “Arizona pizzeria’s amazing response to state’s anti-gay bill.”

 

This post is also published in La Parola, our gay issues department.

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