link Biden Arrives in Europe to Reassure Allies – NYTimes.com.
By now of course, Russia’s Vladimir Putin has firmly secured his grip on Crimea, that southern chunk of the Ukraine that is coveted for its strategic geographic locale. While this did occur ostensibly with the full approval of the Crimean residents with a convincing 95% approval vote and without the necessity of firing even one shot from the Russians, the posting of 60,000 troops at the borders may have been a bit of an influence.
Ukrainians who may be somewhat averse to the possibility of the entire nation being pulled back into the grip of the Russian Bear are feeling just a bit lonely here. It’s as if their erstwhile political buddies disappeared like frat boys at a seedy bar when the big guy at the corner table stands up and bellows “hey you!” in their direction.
On the face of it, sending the second-in-command of the most powerful nation on earth to assuage the percolating fears of the European states appears to be a strong message to both the Europeans as well as to the Russians. If this were Dick Cheney, definitely. But this is Joe Biden. Was Pee Wee Herman not available?
Hopefully, Plugs has brought with him an arsenal of strong words and lots of chalk because he’ll need it when Putin keeps walking across the chalk line that Biden dares him to cross over. This is the equivalent of sending Gilligan to threaten Goldfinger. We can imagine the Europeans figuratively checking his luggage for guns. “What? No guns? You brought no guns?” Joe replies, “We’re civilized, we don’t do that anymore. We’ll hit him with the finger waggle.”
What seems to be playing out here is the battle between the rule of law, as it’s believed in the West, versus the rule of the jungle, which is how the rest of the world operates. It’s like the idiot pedestrians who are so confident that the rule of law will protect them at crosswalks that they blithely walk into the path of ‘rule-breaking cars’. Joe Biden is going to tell the Europeans that they are in the right and that will protect them against Vlad’s dash through the crosswalk in his SUV. Yeah, good luck with that.
link Chipotle Warns It Might Stop Serving Guacamole If Climate Change Gets Worse | ThinkProgress.
Of all the spurious reasons to join the march of the Global Warming parade with the deluded idiots, at least this one has the potential for mass outrage. Whereas for most people, the odd missing penguin, scarce butterfly or dwindling owl population may be somewhat abstract, the thought of missing out on a main food group, Mexican, is unthinkable.
If you removed avocados from the mix in offerings at Mexican restaurants, what would you be left with? Tomatoes, beans, cheese, beef, chicken and pork. That may as well be Italian food. Or if you take out beans and use chopsticks, it’s Chinese food. We can see where this would cause serious social upheaval. If all of a sudden, the Chipotle restaurant chain loses access to avocados, then they are essentially Olive Garden with corn chips. Why would anyone go to Chipotle when they can get bottomless bread at Olive Garden?
This isn’t about guacamole, it’s about the very survival of culture. While it’s one thing to have a melting pot nation, when it comes to food, Americans want a smorgasbord of choices. Nobody wants McOliveLobsterHut. Whatever we need to do, however high the tax hikes or however much we have to pay to keep guacamole on the menus, let’s do it. Because it’s not just avocados. It could be tomatoes that next disappear as a result of Global Warming. There goes Pizza Hut; there goes Chef Boyardee and you may as well say goodbye to salsa.
Luckily for Chipotle, the chances of avocados disappearing are as probable as eating a no gas burrito. Good try though. What they could do is to put images of missing penguins on their drink cups to raise consciousness of global warming. Missing penguins cute; avocados, not so much.
link What’s Not Being Said About Bitcoin | TechCrunch.
There are lots of smart people out there who seem to be making money (literally) in the new murky world of Bitcoins. I’ll confess that I don’t have any good grasp of how this new world digital currency works, but there seems to be some semblance of acceptance by those pioneers at the leading edge of this stuff. Even retailers and service providers are effecting transactions using bitcoins in parallel with plain old money.
Intuitively, it’s a stretch to think that a currency based on nothing can actually be a medium of payment for goods and services. In addition, if you can find or ‘mine’ this currency just by fooling around on the internet, it seems just a bit iffy for us hard asset types. We are reminded of the story of Jack and The Beanstalk. To summarize the story for those not born in the 1930′s, the mother of Jack was none too pleased when he returned home with a handful of beans as payment for the family cow instead of hard currency.
As it happens, the beans were not ordinary, but of the magical kind and all worked out well for Jack, who was in danger of being sent to an orphanage until that happened. Eventually, Jack winds up stealing gold coins, eggs and a harp from an unfriendly Ogre and then lives happily ever after with his mom.
We haven’t the slightest idea if the real life Bitcoin stories will wind up with modern day Jacks being eaten by Ogres or by them scoring great wealth. It is however noteworthy that Jack’s eventual wealth was acquired by theft and bravery rather than menial work.