Remember When Obama Laughed at Romney for Saying Russia was a Threat?

I actually wish we had some of that 1980’s foreign policy. We need something in place what we have. Russia and NATO stage rival air combat exercises.

The drills would involve 12,000 troops, 250 aircraft and nearly 700 artillery pieces and other heavy weaponry and include cruise missile strikes at an imaginary enemy target at a Siberian firing range, the Tass news agency reported.

This 3rd exercise in 3 months is happening while NATO is doing its own set of war games, just over the horizon.

About 100 fighter jets and 4000 military personnel from the United States and eight European countries began exercises over the Arctic on Monday, Norwegian Brigadier General Jan Ove Rygg announced in a statement from Oslo.

Live fire will be included in the NATO games. So in theory while we are just making faces at one another, this could go really wrong, really fast. Especially if Putin decides to double-down on his invasion of Ukraine. (Which former Soviet Republics, and Warsaw Pact countries are a bit worried about.)

You know, as much as we all hated the Cold War, this doesn’t seem so cold to me.

So maybe Romney was right, and Russia IS a bigger threat than ISIS. (video after the fold)

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Several Thousand Mile Race and the Boats are Mere Mile Apart

This isn’t something that happens in a boat race where the distances are measured in days, and hundreds (or thousands) of miles. Sail World – Volvo Ocean Race – Full drag race mode towards finish line.

Dongfeng Race Team has also struggled and although still very close MAPFRE have slipped past now with a half a nautical mile lead.

The three boats in the lead are close enough that they can see one another. (Through binoculars.)

With winds forecast to strengthen today and tonight, a “drag race” is exactly what we have.

The lead boats are expected to make landfall in Lisbon at 0600 on May 27th.

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Science is a Human Endeavor, Subject to Politics, Bias, etc.

The current view in the media and in some of the scientific community, is that science is pure and immune to things like politics, budget pressure or peer pressure. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Bad Science – Study on Gay Marriage Was Fake, Gets Retracted.

The scientific community is in shock after one of the largest scientific publishers, Science, was forced to retract a study on gay marriage; the reason? The data on which it was based was almost certainly fake.

But that shouldn’t be shocking to anyone, and certainly not anyone in the scientific community.

Scientists are human beings. As such, they have prejudices, biases, and all the other failings that humans have. To think that they could be flawed individuals in their personal lives, and yet perfect, pure scientists in their professional lives is naive, at best.

This is about the study that said, if you want to change people’s minds on gay marriage, all you need to do is have a short conversation.

Turns out it isn’t that easy

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Coyote Attack in California

So what to do when you live in an area of California that is home to some wild predators? In CA, not much you can do. Neighborhood on edge after coyote attacks girl in Irvine park.

The incident happened at about 5:50 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Equinox and Silverado, when a mother and her twin daughters were walking the family’s dog.

One of the girls went to retrieve a dog-waste bag and was bending over when a coyote came out of the bushes, jumped on top of her and grabbed her by the neck, said Lt. Kent Smirl of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on Saturday. The mother and several other people ran up to the coyote and scared the animal off, he said.

Neighbors are worried, because there have been multiple incidents. But no one close to this story has mentioned firearms. Or any other tool that let us become apex predators. The good folks of CA are too cool and laid back for that. So it is only a matter of time before they become food again.

You are only an apex predator when you are armed. Otherwise …

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You Say That Like It’s a Bad Thing – Greek Debt Crisis

Being cause being in control of your own affairs – and responsible for the outcomes – is just a fate worse than death. The painful day of judgment is coming closer for the Greeks – Telegraph.

Faced with a banking meltdown, and no more cash from Europe, they would have no choice but to reinvent the drachma, print money, and take back control of their own affairs.

I often wondered why the dollar was still the reserve currency. But then I looked at Europe. As screwed up as our government is (and what pains they inflict on our economy), the governments of Europe are even more screwed up.

Greece is out of money. Their finance minister has said that they don’t have the money to make their next debt payment. And he should know. He was immediately shouted down by the folks that are still hoping for an 11th hour reprieve. But you can’t change the facts just by wishing.

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Greek Socialists and the Implosion of the Greek Economy

So in December the Greeks elected themselves a socialist government. In 6 months an economy that was bad is almost beyond life-support. Greek economy is bleeding 600 jobs a day, €22m in GDP – Telegraph.

The Left was elected in Greece saying that the eeeevil bankers weren’t going to have their way. They were going to declare that everything would be OK. No pain. Just bliss. And the Greeks voted for them.

Of course the country needed those eeeevil bankers to pay for stuff. But then the Left didn’t want loans, they wanted hand-outs. It didn’t work out in their favor.

The gridlock over the country’s eurozone future is resulting in record numbers of lost jobs and a destruction in growth potential, according to figures from the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Enterprise (ESEE),

Since Syriza took office in late January, an average 59 small businesses have shut up shop, with approximately 613 jobs destoyed every single day, say ESEE.

At this point 95% of all loan applications are being denied. More than 33% of all bank loans are listed as “non-performing.” While the Greek economy grew at a pace of 1% last year (after contracting 25% in the past few years) I think it is clear they are back in recession.

And for more data on the subject… Nine charts showing why Greece has to leave the euro – Telegraph.

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The Section Quartet

I love the sound of small string groups covering popular music. Here we have The Section Quartet doing just that.

“The Man Who Sold the World” originally by David Bowie.

“Time is Running Out” originally by Muse.

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Memorial Day Chicago-style: 16 injured, 3 dead – just on Friday

Can I say, “The weekend started with a bang,” or is it too soon. Police: 3 killed, 16 wounded in Memorial Day weekend shootings across Chicago | Chicago.

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Purdue University on the Side of Free Speech

“Chicago Principles” because they started at the University of Chicago. Purdue adopts 'Chicago principles' to protect free speech – Chicago Tribune.

Purdue’s policy states that members of the university are free to criticize speakers but says they “may not obstruct or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe.”

Also in place at Princeton.

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Greek Hospitals Out of Supplies

The health service in Greece is in a bit of a jam. Greek hospitals cannot afford painkillers, scissors or sheets as budget cuts bite – Europe – World – The Independent.

On coming to power the Syriza government scrapped the €5 fee for attending state hospitals and pledged to hire 4,500 more health workers, despite the need for austerity and criticism from creditors.

Notwithstanding the government’s promises, healthcare spending has fallen by 25 per cent since 2009, creating shortages of the most basic surgical equipment and leaving too little money to pay nurses’ salaries.

It is easy to promise things in elections. [Hat tip: Small Dead Animals]

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