Thursday Reads: Empathic Elephants, Meaningful Lives, Hillary Harassment, and Miranda Decision

baby elephants

Good Morning!!

A fascinating new study found that Asian elephants comfort each other in times of stress by touching each other with their trunks and making consoling vocalizations. From National Geographic:

Asian elephants, like great apes, dogs, certain corvids (the bird group that includes ravens), and us, have now been shown to recognize when a herd mate is upset and to offer gentle caresses and chirps of sympathy, according to a study published February 18 in the online journal PeerJ.

Joshua Plotnik, a behavioral ecologist at Mahidol University in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, and primatologist Frans de Waal, director ofEmory University’s Living Links Center, have shown through a controlled study what those who work with elephants have always believed: The animals, in this case captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), offer something akin to humans’ sympathetic concern when observing distress in another, including their relatives and friends.

The scientists observed a group of 26 elephants in Thailand for a year. It was a naturalistic study–researchers waited until a stressful situation occurred and then noted the animals’ behavior toward each other. From The Christian Science Monitor:

A stress-inducing situation might be a dog walking by or a snake rustling the grass, or the roar or just the presence of a bull elephant. Sometimes the stressor was unknown. Regardless, scientists know elephant distress when they see it: erect tails and flared ears; vocalizations such as trumpeting, rumbling, or roaring; and sudden defecation and urination tell the story….the scientists witnessed bystander elephants—those not directly affected by a stressor—moving to and giving upset elephants physical caresses, mostly inside the mouth (which is kind of like a hug to elephants) and on the genitals. 

Bystanders also rumbled and chirped with vocal offerings that suggested reassurance. Sometimes the empathetic animals formed a protective circle around the distressed one.

There was also evidence of “emotional contagion,” when herd mates matched the behavior and emotional state of the upset individual. In other words, seeing a “friend” in distress was distressing to the observers. Those animals also consoled one another.

It makes you wonder if the elephant is really the appropriate symbol for the Republican Party. Read more about elephant empathy at The Christian Science Monitor and Wired.

what-can-money-buy

Here’s another interesting study at Scientific American–this time about humans: A Happy Life May not be a Meaningful Life. The results reminded me of all the super rich guys who are constantly complaining about how victimized they are by the rest of us peons.

Psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl once wrote, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” For most people, feeling happy and finding life meaningful are both important and related goals. But do happiness and meaning always go together? It seems unlikely, given that many of the things that we regularly choose to do – from running marathons to raising children – are unlikely to increase our day-to-day happiness. Recent research suggests that while happiness and a sense of meaning often overlap, they also diverge in important and surprising ways.

Roy Baumeister and his colleagues recently published a study in the Journal of Positive Psychology that helps explain some of the key differences between a happy life and a meaningful one. They asked almost 400 American adults to fill out three surveys over a period of weeks. The surveys asked people to answer a series of questions their happiness levels, the degree to which they saw their lives as meaningful, and their general lifestyle and circumstances.

As one might expect, people’s happiness levels were positively correlated with whether they saw their lives as meaningful. However, the two measures were not identical – suggesting that what makes us happy may not always bring more meaning, and vice versa. To probe for differences between the two, the researchers examined the survey items that asked detailed questions about people’s feelings and moods, their relationships with others, and their day-to-day activities. Feeling happy was strongly correlated with seeing life as easy, pleasant, and free from difficult or troubling events. Happiness was also correlated with being in good health and generally feeling well most of the time. However, none of these things were correlated with a greater sense of meaning. Feeling good most of the time might help us feel happier, but it doesn’t necessarily bring a sense of purpose to our lives.

Interestingly, the researchers found that money can buy happiness, but it can’t guarantee a meaningful life. This is something I’ve come to believe through long and painful experience. I think a sense of meaning comes from working your way through problems and difficult times and coming out the other side stronger and wiser. Rich people are often able to shield themselves from life problems, but at the same time they miss out on opportunities for emotional growth.

Of course relationships are also important for both happiness and a sense of meaning.

In Baumeister’s study, feeling more connected to others improved both happiness and meaning. However, the role we adopt in our relationships makes an important difference. Participants in the study who were more likely to agree with the statement, “I am a giver,” reported less happiness than people who were more likely to agree with, “I am a taker.” However, the “givers” reported higher levels of meaning in their lives compared to the “takers.” In addition, spending more time with friends was related to greater happiness but not more meaning. In contrast, spending more time with people one loves was correlated with greater meaning but not with more happiness. The researchers suspect that spending time with loved ones is often more difficult, but ultimately more satisfying, than spending time with friends.

This is something else I can testify to. I spent about 18 years being a primary caregiver for my ex-mother-in-law. At times this was a thankless, frustrating task that certainly didn’t make me happy all the time–but in the end, I realized that the experience had been meaningful and I had grown a great deal from it.

Bill De Blasio Sworn In As New York City Mayor

It looks like Hillary is going to be in the news a great deal between now and the 2016 presidential primaries. We’ve seen the Republicans ramping up their campaign against her–so far by focusing on old gossip from the 1990s. Even the Vince Foster conspiracy theories are coming back to haunt us. Bob Cesca at The Daily Banter reported yesterday that Fox News was set to resurface not only Vince Foster myths, but also Kathleen Willey’s claims that Bill Clinton sexually harassed her.

One of the top shelf conspiracy theories about the Clintons had to do with the suicide of White House advisor Vince Foster, which topped a list of other suspected deaths at the hands of Bill and Hillary. Now, 13 years after the end of that administration and at the outset of the would-be presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton, everything from the ’90s appears to be back on the table.

We’ve already heard from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who was the first to invoke Monica Lewinsky. And now here comes Fox News Channel resurrecting the Vince Foster conspiracy theory.

On tonight’s The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly welcomes Kathleen Willey who famously accused President Clinton of sexual harassment. An independent counsel discredited the groping allegations. Nevertheless, Willey has gone on to accuse the Clintons of not only assassinating Vince Foster, but also of murdering her husband.

Sigh . . . I don’t know if anyone here watched that travesty–I wonder if Megyn explained why Hillary should be held responsible for things her husband did (or was accused of doing) decades ago.

As an antidote to that nonsense, here are a couple of very interesting polls:

Politico: Hillary Clinton sweeps GOP in Ohio

Hillary Clinton buries Gov. Chris Christie and other potential Republican presidential candidates in the crucial swing state of Ohio, according to a new poll on Thursday.

The former secretary of state, who led Christie 42 percent to 41 percent in November, now tops the New Jersey governor 49 percent to 36 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

Read the rest of the numbers at the link.

Now here’s a poll that will make Dakinikat smile: In a Stunning Turn Poll Shows Hillary Clinton Could Make Louisiana Blue in 2016 (Politicus USA)

A new Public Policy Polling survey of Louisana found that Hillary Clinton would be the strongest Democratic presidential candidate in the state since her husband Bill was on the ballot in the 1990s.

According to PPP, “All the Republican contenders for President lead Hillary Clinton in hypothetical contests, but the margins are closer than they’ve been in the state since her husband was on the ticket. Christie leads her by just a point at 44/43, Jindal’s up 2 at 47/45, Paul leads by 4 points at 47/43, Huckabee has a 5 point advantage at 49/44, and the strongest Republican with a 7 point edge at 50/43 is Jeb Bush.”

Hillary Clinton’s numbers represent the best showing for a Democratic presidential candidate in the state since her husband Bill Clinton won Louisiana by 5 points in 1992 and 12 points in 1996. George W. Bush won the state by 8 points in 2000, and 15 points in 2004. McCain beat Obama by 19 in 2008, and Mitt Romney defeated the president by a margin of 18 points in 2012.

Wow! It’s still very early, but that is exciting news.

article-2399932-1B660F11000005DC-957_634x366

You may recall that last August, Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda was detained at Heathrow Airport in London and questioned about documents he was carrying–top secret documents that had been stolen by Edward Snowden from the U.S. and Great Britain. Miranda’s computers, flash drives and other electronic devices were also confiscated. Greenwald and Miranda sued, claiming that Great Britain charging him under their “anti-terrorism laws was unlawful and breached human rights.” Yesterday the court released its decision, saying that judges said it was a “proportionate measure in the circumstances” and in the interests of national security. From BBC News:

Steven Kovats QC, representing the UK home secretary, previously told the High Court that the secret material seized from Mr Miranda could have ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda.

But Mr Miranda’s lawyers argued the detention at Heathrow was illegal because it was carried out under the wrong law: Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

They said that in reality he was detained on the say-so of the security services so they could seize journalistic material.

Mr Miranda was carrying 58,000 highly classified Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) files, the judge said.

He added that Oliver Robbins, the UK’s deputy national security adviser at the Cabinet Office, had stated that “release or compromise of such data would be likely to cause very great damage to security interests and possible loss of life”.

But could Miranda be called a “journalist” just because he was carrying material that his partner had written about in a newspaper, The Guardian?

In his ruling, Lord Justice Laws said: “The claimant was not a journalist; the stolen GCHQ intelligence material he was carrying was not ‘journalistic material’, or if it was, only in the weakest sense.

“But he was acting in support of Mr Greenwald’s activities as a journalist. I accept that the Schedule 7 stop constituted an indirect interference with press freedom, though no such interference was asserted by the claimant at the time.

“In my judgement, however, it is shown by compelling evidence to have been justified.”

Here’s the full decision of the court. There is a subtle but emphatic slap-down of Glenn Greenwald’s arguments in points 54-56. The judged noted that Greenwald appeared to be lecturing the court when he discussed “responsible journalism,” and responded that the “evidence” Greenwald offered was “unhelpful,” because he took the position that British law enforcement officers deliberately acted in a way that they (officers) knew to be wrong; he ignored the fact that the material Miranda was carrying was stolen and could end up in the wrong hands; and that

Mr Greenwald’s account (paragraph 33) of the “many ingredients to the sensible reporting of very sensitive information” is insubstantial; or rather, mysterious – the reader is left in the dark as to how it is that “highly experienced journalists and
legal experts” (paragraph 33(1)) or “[e]xperienced editors and reporters” (33(2)) are able to know what may and what may not be published without endangering life or security.

Miranda and Greenwald hope to be granted the right to appeal the decision.

I’m just about out of space, so I’ll conclude with a quickie from Sochi: Olympian Films Wolf Stalking Her Hotel Hallway.

Olympian Kate Hansen tweeted out a video of what appears to be a wolf trotting down her hotel hallway with the message, “I’m pretty sure this is a wolf wandering my hall in Sochi.” via

Now it’s your turn. What stories are you following today? Please post your links in the comment thread, and have a great day!


88 Comments on “Thursday Reads: Empathic Elephants, Meaningful Lives, Hillary Harassment, and Miranda Decision”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    This isn’t breaking news, but I’m thrilled about it. The one judge the Senate has confirmed so far in 2014 is Robert Wilkins from Muncie Indiana. He was in the same high school class as my brother–the child of a single mother. I wrote about Wilkins back when Obama nominated him.

    Read more about Wilkins here.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Matt Taibbi has sold out to Pierre Omidyar. Not that I’m really surprised . . .

    NYT: Start-Up Site Hires Critic of Wall St.

    Mr. Taibbi will start his own publication focusing on financial and political corruption, he said in an interview on Wednesday. First Look is financed by the eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, who is worth $8.5 billion, according to Forbes. Mr. Omidyar has pledged $250 million to the project.

    “It’s obvious that we’re entering a new phase in the history of journalism,” Mr. Taibbi said. “This is clearly the future, and this was an opportunity for me to be part of helping to found something and create something that might carry us into the next generation.”

    Not only does Omidyar now control the Snowden leaks, but also he’s buying out as many investigative journalists as he can. I don’t know…based on what I’ve seen so far from Greenwald’s “The Intercept,” I don’t know if this thing can succeed. I guess if Omidyar is willing to take heavy losses for years like Amazon did, maybe. But they’ll need to produce more interesting content than Greenwald has if they want to attract readers.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    BBC Live Blog on Ukraine

    It’s getting worse and worse. I think President Obama needs to do something more than talk about stopping the violence. It’s not going to stop.

    • bostonboomer says:

      A helpful Reuters article from December.

      Ukraine’s turmoil is born of history and geography

    • bostonboomer says:

      Buzzfeed:

      Death Toll Rises In Ukraine Crisis As Clashes Shatter Truce

      42 people are now reported dead.

      • bostonboomer says:

        This guy says the number of dead is much larger:

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Since the protesters have taken about 60 police hostage, doesn’t look like this will end anytime soon. I can’t even imagine the frustration that those people feel at not being able to put Russia and Putin in their rear view mirror. I know this is much deeper than those of us who aren’t historians can understand. I just hope that in the end the people are able to make their own decisions regarding their future.

      • RalphB says:

        I endorse this post and add my whole hearted gratitude to Nunn-Lugar for ridding the Ukraine of their nukes.

        Charles Pierce: Shit’s Getting Real In The Ukraine

        There is no athlete — hell, there are very few people — that I admire more at the moment than Bogdana Matsotska, the Ukrainian skier who has dropped out of the Putiniad, rather than continue to pretend that she lives in the happy fun bubble we see on TV.

        “I am in Maidan but just with my soul,” she said. The two-time Olympian explained her frustration with Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych in an interview conducted in English and Russian. “I think as a minimum he has to be jailed, and for a long time,” Matsotska said. “For all the lives that he took, for all the lives of innocent people that came peacefully to stand for their opinion. “I hope that I will be heard by the world and that probably somebody will step in and will help,” she said. Matsotska is remaining with Oleg Matsotskyy, her father and coach, in the athletes village in the mountains above Sochi. “We made this decision together. It is really hard for a sportsman and coach,” she said. “The people are dying and my friends and family are there and I cannot race after all this in Ukraine going on.”

    • dakinikat says:

      I haven’t heard anything from the UN yet, have you?

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Republican assholes.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      They will never quit.

      • Fannie says:

        And in a nutshell they haven’t created one fucking job in this country. They influenced the employees at VW (Tenn.), to vote against representation from UAW. Sen. Bob Corker lied to the workers, and said “a vote in favor of union would hinder VW Growth”. Today the headlines read, that VW has no plans for expanding their medium SUV in the south, period.
        They refuse to do business in the south.

        I hope a memo (Blame the Conservatives) with a wrecked VW on top of wrecked people with no jobs in the south will be forwarded all republican governors.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          Corker got an earful from me both before and after the vote. He peddled fear and intimidation to the workers prior to the vote and scared them into believing they could lose their jobs if they voted in the union. By all accounts they had the votes needed to join the UAW before Corker intervened. Now the VW workers co-op in Europe, which teams with VW management to make decisions regarding locations of new plants is saying they won’t vote to put any new VW facilities in the South. My response to that is, BLAME BOB CORKER!!!

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Lots of news today. I’ll stop posting for now and hope to hear from you guys!

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    If Hillary runs she will face fierce opposition from the southern states. This appears to be where most of the Tea Party nutjobs reside.

    We may laugh at the idea of a Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Marco Rubio nabbing the nomination but with all that Koch money behind them she may be in for a rougher time than Obama if she does not get the support of the minority voters that propelled Obama’s win.

    Christie may be out and Walker looks quite vulnerable according to Rachel Maddow, but I fear the GOP will stop at nothing to win back the WH and it could be any one of those 3 who will be her opposition.

    The thought of any one of them capturing the WH curdles my blood. The deep south is no more comfortable with a woman candidate than they were with a black one.

    It scares me to think of what they may have up their sleeves.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      We can go ahead and put MS, AL, GA, SC, NC, KY, AR, MS, TX and likely LA in the loss column for the Dems. Losing those states won’t keep Hillary from being elected POTUS. Obama lost all those states and others like WV, IN, IA, an he won decisively.

      Rand Paul and Ted Cruz win the GOP NOTHIN they wouldn’t win anyway. The GOP could run BOZO (Mitt Romney) and win those states. Rubio, on the other hand, could pull FL over to the win column which could turn the tide, but I don’t think Mr. Rubio will hold up to scrutiny and I don’t think Walker holds up well to scrutiny either. I think their best shot, which isn’t much, is Jeb Bush, but who knows what sort of Op-research they have on good old Jeb?

      I truly believe if Hillary runs, she wins, which means America wins.

      • Fannie says:

        For the love of Jesus, when it comes to Bill Clinton, and Hillary, these republicans wake up every morning as though they are married to them. Last time I checked, it is the two of them in the marriage. I am sick of their political agendas when it comes to marriages. It’s none of their fucking business. They are just pissed cause of the love they share, and that they stayed together.

        I saw that Fox video with Kathleen Willey…………Wow, her throat was squeezing, and she was trembling, and you can see the anger in her chest. Wonder how much money she collected in pay on the way out the door. This woman needs help.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          Ditto to that Fannie!! The GOP is going back 20-30 years dredging up everything from rumor, to innuendo, to uncorroborated bullshit, to outright lies, and peddling it all as today’s news. Do they not understand that a good percentage of voters were either unborn or to young to remember all these ancient stories? As usual they’re spitting into the wind.

      • RalphB says:

        I don’t think Rubio or Jeb could win Florida in 2016, but I’ve been wrong before.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          I hope you’re right, and I can’t imagine either of them getting the nomination anyway. I think the big gulp moment and shady dealings take Rubio out of the mix. Jeb doesn’t seem to want in the mix at all. I’m sort of leaning toward the notion that it could be Paul Ryan, especially since he divorced Ayn Rand.

          • RalphB says:

            Personally I think Charlie Crist will win the governor’s race in 2014 and no Republican will win Florida in 2016.

    • The thought of any one of them capturing the WH curdles my blood. The deep south is no more comfortable with a woman candidate than they were with a black one.

      I agree with this Pat, and like you I am scared at what lengths they well go to get it “done.”

  7. janicen says:

    I love elephants. I won’t let the GOP co-opt their image, I will always think of them as gentle, vegetarians who care about each other. 🙂

    And now we learn…

    moving to and giving upset elephants physical caresses, mostly inside the mouth (which is kind of like a hug to elephants) and on the genitals.

    I think that’s a stress reliever for most humans too! 😀

  8. janicen says:

    “A Happy Life Might Not Be A Meaningful Life”

    I admit to being a very literal thinker so I might be missing the spiritual aspect of what is meant by a happy life compared to a meaningful life but it seems to me there is an obvious distinction between the two. “Happy” refers to an internal feeling we have, “Meaningful” is a descriptor of the impact of our presence on the world around us; the people around us.

    So I can totally see how someone can be happy but yet not necessarily feel their life is meaningful. I don’t know if I have explained it well enough but I’m trying to say, ‘Happy’ comes from within us, ‘Meaningfulness’ is defined by our affect on people around us.

    • Fannie says:

      Good topic, we all need to stop and think, cause we have all wondered, and searched it out.
      It’s really all about “I”……each and everyone of us must find a place where we can be happy, and on the other hand, some have never found a place to be happy. I look at what’s happening in Russia, and the dying, the search to be free, and find happiness, and meaning.

      So I see what you and BB are saying, and look and see what is around me, we are all humans, who give a little help to those that need it, when we can we give our HEARTS to others.

  9. RalphB says:

    Very courageous young women. I hope they don’t fare worse after the Olympia camera crews leave!

    tpm: Pussy Riot Makes Music Video From Footage Of Militia’s Attack On Band (VIDEO)

  10. RalphB says:

    Nice. Where’s the liberal MSNBC? Oh yeah, covering a Chris Christie staff email or something important like that.

    tpm: CNN Gets Into Greg Abbott’s Face After Tx. GOPer Palled Around With Ted Nugent (VIDEO)

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m so sick of hearing about Chris Christie! WTF is MSNBC’s problem?

      • ANonOMouse says:

        You have to give Maddow credit, She kept that bridge story front and center until the Bergen Record and Steve Kornacki blew the lid off of it. That story is likely the beginning of the end of Christie’s POTUS dream. Now she’s on to the Scott Walker story, she may just dissect him out of contention too.

        • RalphB says:

          Maddow got it started. Now they need to let it run until something really happens instead of trying to force it. I really like her but she’s starting to look obsessed even to me.

      • RalphB says:

        They have what may turn out to be a real scoop which could take down a governor in the media corridor. Everyone is auditioning to be Woodward or Bernstein but what may happen is the scandal may not hit Christie personally and, if it doesn’t, all this harping on him will make him stronger than ever when he survives.

      • dakinikat says:

        Here’s something to keep you mind of that! Nothint says “I’m batshit crazzy” like a quote from Michelle Bachmann.

        http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/20/michele-bachmann-hillary-cant-ride-wave-of-white-guilt-into-office-like-obama-did/

        Michele Bachmann: Hillary can’t ride wave of white ‘guilt’ into office like Obama did

        Ultimately, she said, a lot of people in the U.S. just “aren’t ready” for a woman president.

        “I think there was a cachet about having an African-American president because of guilt,” she told Thomas.

        “People don’t hold guilt for a woman,” she said, and while voters will vote for women for every other elected office in the country, “I don’t think there is a pent-up desire” to see a woman in the Oval Office.

        When Obama came along, she said, he was “new and different.” Having spent more than two decades in the public eye, Bachmann said, Clinton won’t have the same appeal.

        • RalphB says:

          That is batshit crazy and quite laughable. 😉

        • That is ridiculous, and typical of Bachmann…innit? I saw this op/ed written by The Gipper’s son: The Bill & Hillary Blame Game is For Losers by Michael Reagan

          He poo poos foxnews and Rand Paul for dissing the Clintons,

          Bill Clinton’s personal failings didn’t seem to hurt his job performance.

          He worked with Newt Gingrich and Congress to balance the budget four times, give us welfare reform and give us tax reductions.

          The 1990s were a heck of lot better than today, which is proof that the president’s personal life has nothing to do with his public life.

          My father knew that.

          I remember in 1960 sitting with him, my mother and my sister talking about the photos the Republican National Committee had of John Kennedy walking into and out of hotels with women who were not his wife.

          When I asked my father if Richard Nixon was going to use those photos against JFK in the election, he said, “No. He’s not running for husband of the year. He’s running for president. His personal life should not be part of the campaign.”

          And it wasn’t.

          President Obama was elected in large part because he offered hope and change. His ideas and policies were awful, but he didn’t practice the politics of personal destruction and voters noticed.

          Republicans like Rand Paul need to come up with a plan people can get hold of — a plan that moves forward.

          And if he wants to bash Hillary, he should do it on her public life, not on her private life.

          Just a funny thought though…

  11. ANonOMouse says:

    Yesterday AZ House passed a bill allowing anti-gay discrimination. The Bill goes to the AZ Senate today.

    And from JMG: The Maine House is currently debating a bill that would legalize anti-gay discrimination on the basis of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

    So, I think we’re closing in on the SIT-IN solution.

  12. Fannie says:

    The Idaho Statesman’s front page “Religious freedom bill shelved”. This was the Lynn Luker bill (HB427). He believes that people “misinterpreted” the bill, and discrimination. He says he needs to find the “right language to balance those concerns.”

    What is more important is found on page 5 of the Statesman’s:

    http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/02/19/3038639/idaho-couples-ask-judge-to-rule.html

  13. RalphB says:

    Pressure works!

    Breaking: Obama Will Drop Social Security Cuts In His Budget

    President Barack Obama will drop Social Security cuts he supported last year in his upcoming budget proposal, White House sources told TPM.

    The president’s budget blueprint for the coming year will omit the so-called Chained CPI proposal, which slows the rate at which Social Security benefits grow (which were included in his budget plan last year). …

  14. Fannie says:

    I just called Gov. Butch Otter. He makes a statement in this morning newspaper that “same sex marriages would harm Idaho’s children.” I left a message that love doesn’t hurt children, and that the guns he has allowed on college campus, does, they kill children.

  15. RalphB says:

    Great background and a couple of Ukraine updates.

    Everything You Need To Know About The Growing Crisis In Ukraine

    1) AFP reported on Thursday afternoon that Yanukovych is willing to hold early elections, a key demand of the opposition, according to the Polish prime minister. Whether the Ukrainian president will follow through on said elections, though, remains to be seen.

    2) Ukrainian member of parliament Lesya Orobets announced on her Facebook Thursday afternoon that the Parliament had adopted a resolution demanding that “all military and police troops leave Kyiv to their ordinary place of service and stop using weapons against citizens.”

    “We managed to find votes!” Orobets continued, referencing the difficulty in find a quorum amid rumors that many MPs in the ruling majority party had chosen Thursday to fly out of Ukraine before EU travel bans came into effect. The Parliament also said that all activists should be released and cases closed, victims should be supported and compensated as well as their families, and asserting that only Parliament can declare a state of emergency, in defiance of Yanukovych.

  16. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s something Dakinikat has been predicting:

    Retired Louisiana Lt. General Russell Honore” may run for governor

    Lt. General Russell Honore’ is a blunt and beloved man in Louisiana. The retired army man is best known for his efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, but now he says his help to the state of Louisiana may not be over. He may be considering entering the 2015 Louisiana Governor’s race.

    “There are things that tempt me to want to do that,” says Lt. Gen. Honore’.

    Tuesday, Honore’, who was called ‘The Ragin’ Cajun’ after Hurricane Katrina, spoke to a group of students at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Several times Honore’ spoke about what he would do as governor, concerning emergency preparedness. It’s a topic he knows a lot about after leading Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

    “The idea of helping the state. The state that made me who I am today, that taught me how to read and how to do math,” says Honore’.

    If anyone can beat Diaper Dave, this is the guy.

  17. dakinikat says:

    BB: I posted that bit on Hillary turning Louisiana Blue on my facebook page and it’s totally lit up ….

  18. bostonboomer says:

    Obama is considering putting sanctions on Ukraine. That sounds like a bad idea to me. Won’t that just hurt the people who are protesting?

    http://www.voanews.com/content/rferl-ukraine-protesters-police-in-tense-standoff-after-deadly-clashes/1854693.html

  19. dakinikat says:

    Ya know, some things NEVER change.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/02/20/catholic_archdiocese_closes_school_citing_lack_of_funds_then_builds_lavish_vacation_home_for_bishop/

    Catholic archdiocese closes school citing lack of funds, then builds lavish vacation home for bishop
    The 3,000-square foot addition to the archbishops’ 4,500-square foot vacation home is being strongly criticized

  20. bostonboomer says:

    This is hilarious. The Guardian’s Luke Harding claims that GCHQ or NSA tried to interfere while he was writing his book on Ed Snowden–by deleting characters while he was typing.

    I wrote that Snowden’s revelations had damaged US tech companies and their bottom line. Something odd happened. The paragraph I had just written began to self-delete. The cursor moved rapidly from the left, gobbling text. I watched my words vanish. When I tried to close my OpenOffice file the keyboard began flashing and bleeping.

    Over the next few weeks these incidents of remote deletion happened several times. There was no fixed pattern but it tended to occur when I wrote disparagingly of the NSA. All authors expect criticism. But criticism before publication by an anonymous, divine third party is something novel. I began to leave notes for my secret reader. I tried to be polite, but irritation crept in. Once I wrote: “Good morning. I don’t mind you reading my manuscript – you’re doing so already – but I’d be grateful if you don’t delete it. Thank you.” There was no reply.

    • RalphB says:

      Nice to know the tech expert can’t recognize a bug when he sees one. 😉

    • RalphB says:

      This is the Guardian’s picked comment

      … Or you’ve got a bit of cheese stuck under the delete key of your laptop.

    • bostonboomer says:

      STOLEN ’57 CHEVY RETURNED TO OWNER AFTER 30 YEARS

      The 65-year-old says the car has had a lot of work done on it since it disappeared from his Lake County home in 1984. It was returned with a monogrammed interior, 17-inch racing wheels, rack-and-pinion steering and a 350-horsepower V-8 engine.

      The retired mechanic says the two-door was in sorry shape when he bought it for $375 in 1975 with plans for fixing it up.

  21. bostonboomer says:
  22. Sara says:

    BB I am glad MSNBC is continuing CC coverage as it is exposing the wide range of corruption [PA administrators & police; redevelopment investors, etc.] These stories are an excellent primer on how corruption can stay around for a long time and expands.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It’s great. But lately, that is just about the only story MSNBC covers, at least at night. There are other thing happening they could report on for variety.