After Ukraine, Good Luck Getting Iran to Give Up Nukes

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Hardliners in Iran are using America’s impotence in dealing with the crisis in the Ukraine as an example of what happens when you give up your nuclear strength.

Twenty years ago, no one would have messed with the Ukraine. Russia certainly would not have dared to move forces to its doorstep.

In 1994 Ukraine was the third largest nuclear power. That same year Ukraine agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal with the promise from the United States and Russia that neither country would use force or threaten action against the newly independent nation.

Ironically, Ukraine gave all of its nuclear warheads — 1,900 long range and 2,500 short range – to Russia.

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Joe McGinniss, Inky Columnist-Turned-Controversial Author, Dead at 71

The Daily News reports: “JOE McGINNISS, who went from controversial stints at the old Evening Bulletin and the Inquirer to best-sellerdom as a writer of blistering books, died yesterday in Worcester, Mass., of prostate cancer at age 71. McGinniss wrote hard-hitting books on many subjects, from Richard Nixon (The Selling of the President 1968) to Sarah Palin (The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin). The Palin book led him to move in next door to her Alaska home for several months. As a sports reporter for the Bulletin, he so angered Wilt Chamberlain with columns about his lousy foul shooting and other criticisms that Wilt shoved him into a locker at Convention Hall along with the late Daily News sportswriter Bill Conlin, who had tried to protect McGinniss.”

SCOTUS Won’t Touch “Boobies”

AP: “The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a Pennsylvania school district that wants to prevent students from wearing “I (heart) Boobies!” bracelets to promote breast cancer awareness among young people. The justices on Monday left in place a federal appeals court ruling striking down a ban on the bracelets. The ban was put in place by the Easton Area School District, which says the breast-cancer awareness bracelets are lewd in their use of sexual innuendo.”

And thus generation of teenagers celebrated their free speech rights—but used them only to say “boobies.”

I Don’t Believe in Bitcoins

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I’d just managed to complete my first-ever PayPal purchase when I started hearing about Bitcoins everywhere I turned. I don’t know if it’s the whole Magic: The Gathering thing or what, but I picture Bitcoins like the pile of gold Smaug sleeps on in The Hobbit. Imaginary world, imaginary currency.

But I do try to keep up, so I kept reading up on Bitcoins: on the Vinklevoss twins’ plans for a Bitcoin investment fund, on the surprisingly sober Senate hearings on the cryptocurrency last November, on the Mt. Gox mess, allegations of corruption, and on some old Japanese guy living in California who is either the mastermind behind Bitcoins or a befuddled dopplegänger. It would be a lie to say I understand Bitcoins better now. In fact, the more I read, the more confused I become.

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Band of Brothers Vet Dies

CNN reports:William Guarnere, a World War II veteran popularized by the “Band of Brothers” miniseries, has died. He was 90. During the war, Guarnere earned the nickname “Wild Bill.” He lost a leg trying to save a friend on the battlefield. The family is planning a funeral this week in Philadelphia, where Guarnere was born and lived most of his life, his son said.”

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More Oil Trains Coming to Pennsylvania

Despite the alarms raised when an oil train derailed over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia in January—and despite broadening federal concern about the safety of such trains—you can expect to see more oil shipping over the rails in Pennsylvania. StateImpact Pennsylvania reports that the former Exelon Generating Plant in Delaware County is being converted to an oil terminal that will accept 80,000 barrels of crude every day.

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Are My Savesies Chairs Nice Enough?

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I’m not going to name the town where I live. Go ahead and feel superior if you like — if you and all your kumbaya neighbors never mark your shoveled-out parking spaces with personal items when it snows — but here where I live, we do.

I don’t know if we’re less courteous than y’all, or more suspicious, or just exhausted from our position here at the crossroads of what forecasters refer to as “the northern and western suburbs.” Suffice it to say we’ve been walloped this winter. We’re sick and tired of it. And we know our own limitations, which is to say we know what we’re capable of should some day-tripper parallel-park himself or herself into the barely-bumper-to-bumper spaces we’ve painstakingly carved out of the snowdrifts that surround us. So we mark our spaces. Trust me; it’s safer this way.
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