Virtual travel.

The Russian textbook I use is the same one my teacher used as a college student at Indiana University, c. 1960-something. The pattern sentences and reading describe not Russia but the Soviet Union, rich with nostalgia for anyone who lived through the Cold War. Everyone is always going from the library to the university, attending ochin interyesny lectzy or perhaps a zacyedanieh klooba, playing shakmatii or going to see “Lyebedinoye Ozero” at the Bolshoi. (Very interesting lectures, club meetings, chess and “Swan Lake,” for you Yanks.)

This week’s reading was about an Amerikanskii, Bob Cook, whose name transliterates amusingly as Kook, who visited Leningrad and stayed at the historic Astoria Hotel. Very nice, but very expensive, Kook tells his studentskii kloob. I’ll say. If I’m reading their website correctly, a deluxe room, double plus twin, perfect for our family when we travel, is 36,000 rubles per night, or — gasp! — $1,275. Don’t forget the 18 percent VAT, too, and buffet breakfast at $58 per person. I guess if I ever get there, it’ll be your basic Soviet-era concrete block guest house for the Derringers.

At this point we stopped the lesson and discussed the siege of Leningrad during World War II, one of history’s great stories of cruelty and endurance. Adolf Hitler planned to take the city, burn it to the ground, raze what couldn’t be burned and rename the city Adolfsburg. He planned to hold his victory party at the Astoria, and even printed invitations. Alas, Joseph Stalin had other plans, and the blockade and siege lasted 900 days. The dead numbered 1.5 million, most from starvation. Sydney, my teacher, met a woman who lived through it, who said they stripped the wallpaper in their home and and scraped off the paste to eat. The bread ration, given to only a few, was mostly sawdust. They ate rats on the street, their beloved pets, each other — cannibalism was common.

But in the end, Leningrad was spared, and today we can all visit the Hermitage, if we can afford to get there. Kook then traveled to Moscow, and we looked at photos of Krassny Ploschad — Red Square — and I wondered if I ever will get to see Lenin’s Tomb with my own eyes, lying in his own red square on Red Square. One of these days. By the way, the old Soviet version of Bloomingdale’s, GUM, which translates roughly to Universal Government Store, is now a shopping mall. Super-expensive in the New Russian style, konyechno. Here’s a joke about the New Russian style:

Boris Nikolayevich is walking down the street when he runs into his friend Andrei Ivanovich. “That’s a lovely tie,” Boris Nikolayevich tells his friend. “Thank you,” says Andrei Ivanovich. “I spent $900 on it in Paris.” To which Boris Nikolayevich replies: “You fool! You could have stayed in Moscow and paid $2,000.”

As you can tell, today I am empty of thought. Every time I open the newspaper, I scowl and think, what the hell are we doing in Libya?, but there are occasional amusements, like this. Apparently $P went to Israel and forgot to check a map:

Bethlehem was supposed to be her first stop of the day, according to a leaked copy of her schedule. But, after an uneventful drive from her hotel in nearby Jerusalem, her car stopped just short of the main Israeli military checkpoint outside Bethlehem, a Palestinian city in the West Bank, appeared to hesitate and then performed a u-turn.

Israeli military officials declined to comment on why Mrs Palin may have turned back, but the country’s defence ministry confirmed that she had made no formal request to visit the occupied West Bank – standard protocol for any foreign dignitary.


You know you’re a joke when a business weekly makes fun of you. Congratulations, Hoosier tea partiers.

The Free Press informs me I’m paying the highest auto-insurance rates in the country. No surprise there — I just came through the six-month premium season here at NN.c Central, otherwise known six weeks in the Po’ House, but these numbers are stinky. A prototypical 40-year-old man with a clean driving record pays $2,541 a year? What does he drive, an Escalade with spinners? We pay about $2,000 a year for two cars and two drivers.

CNN beats up on Fox. For once.

Off to the showers for me. Have a great day.

Posted at 10:10 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

46 responses to “Virtual travel.”

  1. Connie said on March 22, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I still have my Russian textbook from MSU as well, wonder if it is the same. (It’s red. Librarians hate it when you say that.) Since all my books are still in boxes I can’t even check. I do find these days that if you say to a Russian Speaker, dosvadanya tovaritch, they will laught. Because no one says comrade anymore. Except perhaps those of us who learned our Russian (what little I remember) during the Cold War.

    And as to yesterday’s comments, I think of Chicago as the sound track to my senior year. Homecoming theme: Color My World. Prom theme: Saturday in the Park.

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  2. coozledad said on March 22, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I hate to quibble with your translation of that joke, but shouldn’t it read
    “In former Soviet Union, Tie buys YOU”?

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  3. Sue said on March 22, 2011 at 10:59 am

    ‘what the hell are we doing in Libya’
    And how many of us get to lose our jobs to pay for it?

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  4. LAMary said on March 22, 2011 at 11:03 am

    $4416 per year here for three cars and three drivers. Each month I pay close to $700 for car, home and earthquake insurance. My agent gave me a mouse pad for Christmas.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on March 22, 2011 at 11:05 am

    For once I find myself agreeing with Rand Paul, who doesn’t believe we should have gone to Libya. We will create more terrorists, as the civilian population inevitably suffers.

    Tomorrow I’ll be experiencing reality travel and will be flying through Detroit, since out of Fort Wayne you often must travel north to go south. But here we offer free wifi and the Detroit airport doesn’t. Oh well, I’m only there for an hour, I hope.

    We shell out close to 3K for four cars and four drivers. But we hear in Canada that it’s much cheaper; Sarah’s friends pay $80/month for two drivers. So soon she’ll get that and pay for it herself, eh?

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  6. nancy said on March 22, 2011 at 11:07 am

    LAM: Ouch.

    I love studying other languages, and hearing quirks of etymology. The Russian word for chess, shakmatii, comes directly from ancient Persian (shah mat) and translates to, “The king is dead.” It’s also the basis for the English word “checkmate.”

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  7. coozledad said on March 22, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I wonder if the Persian derives from shatranj or chacharanga (Old Indian form of chess).

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  8. basset said on March 22, 2011 at 11:30 am

    A war where the French shoot first and the Germans don’t want in? Surely not.

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  9. MichaelG said on March 22, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Nice pictures of Kate yesterday. She’s looking like a young lady now, not like a child anymore. I could read the pride in your post. That’s so nice.

    Holy smokes, Mary. In Sacto I pay about $932 a year for full coverage on a brand new 2011 Honda Element. When I was married and living in Auburn we paid even less for three cars, a pickup and two drivers. Wait until your kids move out and start their own lives. Your auto rates will plummet.

    I can’t remember what I pay for insurance on the house but it never struck me as a whole lot, maybe another $900. Tax and insurance are paid out of an impound account so I don’t write the check. I don’t carry flood or earthquake insurance. Sacramento has never been hit with an earthquake, but who knows. Maybe tomorrow. I can’t imagine a scenario in which I would get flooded, although, looking out my office window at the Sacramento river flowing under the tower bridge, the river is as high as I’ve ever seen it and moving fast.

    The reservoirs are all full and there’s record snow in the mountains. A couple of 60 degree days in the high country along with a bit of rain and it could get wet around here. But still not at my house.

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  10. harrison said on March 22, 2011 at 11:38 am


    “Don’t hang noodles from my ears!”

    I don’t know what it is in Russian, but it means “Don’t bullshit me! Tell me the truth!”

    I remember reading it in Lenin’s Tomb by David Remnick, when a Communist Party official assured Gorbachev of his support among the part’s apparatchiks. Gorbachev gave that response.

    If you come across some idiosyncratic sayings like that in Russian, please englighten us.

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  11. Peter said on March 22, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Well, if War No. 3 isn’t depressing enough, it sounds like I’m in for a big bill when my son drives – right now I pay $1200 per year for two drivers and two cars in Chicago.

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  12. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 22, 2011 at 11:59 am

    I remember reading Harrison Salisbury’s “The 900 Days” condensed in the back of my parents’ Reader’s Digest, and realizing “Oh. So that’s what war is really like.” Whatever else must be said about RD, I owe them that one. And a bit of my own abiding fascination with the Russian enigma.

    Connie, was there a rule back then that the next to last song at every dance had to be “Color My World”? My hands get clammy still hearing it played, and my feet start to shuffle from side to side, even in the car (which is dangerous).

    Notice as well to a certain generation of us: William. Shatner. Is Eighty. Today.

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  13. Julie Robinson said on March 22, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Young males’ rates are astronomically high. Our agent explained it like this: young women get in fender benders, young men total the car. And the rates don’t go down until they turn 26.

    If William Shatner turning 80 doesn’t make me feel old, then the rainy day hip pain will. One of my classmates has already had a hip replacement.

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  14. Deborah said on March 22, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    We pay only about $70 per mo ($840 per year) for car insurance in Chicago. One car, two old fart drivers.

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  15. Nancy said on March 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Have you read “City of Thieves,” about the Siege of Leningrad? I really enjoyed it.

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  16. LAMary said on March 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Only one of the young males in the household is on the insurance, but he had a paint trading sort of accident in a parking lot and that did me no good. The younger brother hasn’t hit my criteria for getting a license yet. There’s a GPA to be hit and sustained and that hasn’t happened yet. I’m hoping the older one’s insurance goes down before the younger one gets a license.
    MichaelG, more than one person I’ve talked has told me your part of the state is a Katrina type flood waiting to happen.

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  17. Suzanne said on March 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    The comments in the business weekly piece were especially great with quite a few mentioning that they were either leaving the state or never coming back. So much for our Gov’s assertion that with all his great fiscal policies, there will soon be a tsunami of people and businesses into the state from Illinois and Michigan and Ohio where they do not have such wonderful and foresighted state government.

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  18. nancy said on March 22, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    That argument never made sense to me either, Suzanne, especially when you have companies like Navistar, which just closed up shop in Fort Wayne to move to suburban Chicago, in a state that’s a total fiscal train wreck and just *raised* income taxes. Clearly more goes into these decisions than just taxes, including the available talent pool and other community amenities.

    That’s what Apple and other progressive companies said when they started offering domestic-partner benefits — that it was a matter of staying competitive for the best workforce. Daniels himself sold DST in part on the image thing, saying Indiana looks ridiculous when it refuses to keep step with the rest of the country. Ah, well.

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  19. bobolink said on March 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    My insurance didn’t dramatically increase when I added my son or my daughter. Good student discount, extra discount by using payroll deduction … One tip I never knew was that when you have a kid in school more than x miles away from home, you can suspend coverage for the absence. Don’t know the x. It probably varies company to company.

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  20. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Guys, I thought you knew — corporations move to the areas that have the coolest new stadia with a vast, looming overgrowth of opulent skyboxes extruding into the field of view for the cheap (aka taxpayer) seats. Without a state-of-the-art sports complex, business cannot occur, and migration will ensue, therefore we must publicly finance the dang things.

    I hope that cleared up how they make these otherwise opaque decisions to relocate manufacturing plants. How this theory can extend to maquiladoras I’m not sure, but I imagine some kind of semi-secret arena out in the Chihuahuan hinterland where bloodsports happen on the field, and air conditioned skyboxes gaze down through mirrored enclosures. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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  21. Jolene said on March 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    A heartening story re the tenacity of Japan’s ink-stained wretches. Lacking electricity, local newspapers are struggling to bring news to their communities–sometimes even printing the news by hand.

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  22. Kim said on March 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Our car insurance for four drivers (two teens, one male, and we adults) used to be in a decent range, with all the good student/no accident discounts. Then, a month into licensehood, our eldest backed into a parked 20-year-old Accord, causing $1,000 in damage to it and $2K in damage to his dad’s car. Thus ended the discounted days.

    Nancy@15 – I agree, City of Thieves is a great read!

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  23. prospero said on March 22, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Eto karandash.

    And they own the USA.

    Who is running the world?

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  24. Dexter said on March 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Maybe I get the prize? One car, one minivan, $850 a year, total, half paid every six months.
    For many years I used to have seven insured vehicles. I must have been insane.
    You know, a VW Microbus for fun, a minivan, a compact gas-sipper, a Volvo wagon because I liked to drive it, my wife’s sensible little wagon, a pick-up truck for general purposes, and an old Chevrolet Caprice which I also drove a lot.
    I can see now I was /am a car hoarder. But now, totally under control, just the one vehicle each for us.

    I used to get “Soviet Life” magazine, back in the 1980s. I entered a contest in which I could choose from three locations to visit if I won…Moscow, Leningrad, or Novorossiysk on the Black Sea. I pondered where I would go…and of course I did not win.

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  25. Connie said on March 22, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Good student discounts work all the way through college, just keep sending your agent those report cards. These days that means printouts thereof. State Farm has a safe teen driver discount program which involves a driving log, a dvd, and a brief test by the agent. Only good until your kid gets her first speeding ticket.

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  26. prospero said on March 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Dex’ where the hell’d you park them all? You live in Jonestown? If the VW was a camper, I get it, Damn that sucker was fun. Particularly with the canoe strapped on top.

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  27. prospero said on March 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    State Farm is the best, by far.

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  28. prospero said on March 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Blow up Libya, don;t blow up Libya. Libbya can stand more blowing up tjan Lebanon couoe a few years ago. And Conservative war-mongers ate all over the President’s case. I’d say it’s about time for these people to admit that in America, there is no way a black guy can do anything right, and a moron white boy, child of privilege can be appointed President by a radical Supreme Court. and run up the biggest debt in the country’s history and it get’s blamed on the black guy.

    ction&sc=nl&cThurston Moore. trying hardest to be Lou Reed. It’s pretty good.

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  29. prospero said on March 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    So what’s the deal? Blow Libya to smithereedns or don.t, because it doesn;t fi Israeli policy. And who the hell knows what that might be? At NY GIVEN MOMENT?

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  30. prospero said on March 22, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Israeli airstrikes, It’s not enough to steal land. And homes. Shit, these assholes get more like the De’Klerks every day That’s where they got the wherewithal to buil nukes. If that ain’t appartheid, what the hell is it? This is what the USA buys for more than NPR costs. Really moronic.

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  31. John G. Wallace said on March 22, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I am not comfortable with our involvement in Libya because we have spent the past 25 years or so condemning Kadhaffi when it suits our interests, then coddling him when it better serves our interests. I seem to recall during one period we shifted blame for PanAm 103 to Jordainians, then to extremists trying to sabotage talks with the PLO, then back to Libya. Libya admitted “responsibility” to the U.N. for the bombing in 2003, and their foreign minister recently stated the bombing was ordered by Khadhaffi. The Brits coddled one of the planners and released him for humanitarian purposes (my ass), that was a sell out that didn’t bring justice for American or U.K. victims.
    Saudi Arabia is as oppressive as any nation in the middle east – would we provide cover to protests if they even allowed their people to protest. Weren’t their citizens the majority of the hijackers. If we’re going to reshape the world through forced regime changes, kicking over their tinpot government and royalty and taking their oil to preserve global stabilty sounds like a more reasonable course of action. Did we provide cover to the Yemeni protests?
    We are always creating new enemies in the middle east. One of the most shameful things our government ever did in my opinion was Bush Ver. 1.0 called for the Kurds in Iraq to rise up and fight for their freedom, but we left Saddam in charge and American combat forces stood in place when Saddam slaughtered the Kurds.
    At this point, “Wrong is Right.” The doves and hawks have traded feathers, and I’m convinced that if a Republican was in office the right would be calling for Khadaffi’s head and the left would reel in horror at yet another senseless military action. We all should be concerned when war gets as easy and detached as firing off multi-million dollar cruise missiles.
    Perhaps it’s the name of the mission. “Operation Odyssey Dawn” WTF? People are already suggesting Odyssey Dawn would be a better name for a stripper or a cruise ship.
    RE: Mitch Daniels and the move to DST. Hoosiers will bitch about the change for decades to come,if they could vote to drop it they would, and it’s incredible they could handle their TV shows being on at different times. One business leader acted as if implementing the change on a three shift factory would require a supercomputer. Daniels made it clear that Indiana would not have landed a new Honda plant and a new FedEx hub without the change, and that is why he supported the change.
    I’m firing up the warp drive for a trip to N.E. Indiana for some family business next week. I’m driving the two hours from my house to Sanford to catch an Allegiant flight. If you can fly into Fort Wayne or from there, it’s a great airport, but between the TSA Gate Rape station and the need to change planes in O’Hare or Atlanta it’s quicker to shave off the first two hours (to Indy also) than change planes.

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  32. Dexter said on March 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Good points, Mr. Wallace. Qaddafi being a US ally, then being a villian, all at the whim of pressure to respond one way or another.
    What the answer is, it appears, is to severely curtail the US military budget once again to keep the maniacs in charge from emptying the treasury even further on a third war…I heard Anthony Weiner of NY’s 9th say that this is why we are a superpower, to respond around the world as needed. But are we a superpower?
    As the infrastructure crumbles and the gap between rich and poor grows larger by the week, as even though the TV screams that the recession is over, well, the damage is so wide-spread that whole chunks of the American population have been cut out of the picture, and has been cast adrift .
    Congress funds the military well enough to go out into the world and fight three damn wars simultaneously, giving Congressmen the right to bellow about being a superpower. But we aren’t, and this funding has to begin to be funneled back into the nation’s needs, and not wasted on civil wars .

    Iraq is a wasted nation in many ways, and it cost the US treasury a staggering amount, and yet, the lasting image of that war will be Abu Ghraib prison and that video of a US helicopter crew opening up on a civilian van full of people, for sport.

    When I worked midnights in Indiana when Indiana would not go on Eastern time, it confused the hell out of the truck drivers, who would come to the docks to be unloaded and get mad when I told them they were an hour early…there was no one there to unload them nor to process the paperwork. Especially the drivers delivering from Michigan, who would be travelling east on I-94, then down I-69 into Indiana, and be told they had somehow lost an hour of their day. Some even argued with me as to what the time was!

    prospero: Three cars bumper to bumper on the street in front of my house and two on each side of the house. An eighth would have been a problem!
    My VW was a Transporter bus, not a camper. All told I had three of these “Bubble Buses” over the years.
    Even with my excesses, I only was second…my friend from work loved Dodge vans and trucks and had nine functioning, insured vehicles, plus his Honda Shadow Sabre.

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  33. Jeff Borden said on March 22, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    The issue of who to blow up is so darned confusing.

    Political leaders in Bahrain and Yemen are beating and shooting their own people, but they are U.S. allies. We dock a big old fleet in Bahrain and Yemen is supposedly helping us with the War on Terror. Qaddafi was an ally, but the dummy forgot the Saddam Hussein precedent. Hussein was our big buddy while he was busy slaughtering Iranians, but after his misstep in Kuwait, well, we all know how that turned out.

    Let’s not even broach the subject of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe or any of the lesser known tyrants in Africa. They continue to slaughter people by the thousands while imprisoning and torturing their political opposition, but sheesh, who knows if there’s any oil in Zimbabwe? What’s the return on investment for intervening over there?

    Two quick notes:

    Each of those cruise missiles you read about costs almost $600K each, and we fired something like 110 in one day. A story I read this morning said our investment was already more than $100 million and we’re supposed to be playing backup.

    SheWho continues to receive and act on truly terrible advice. Her appearance in India was a disaster and she’s so dumb she thought she could sashy into Bethlehem during her visit to Israel, unaware that it’s under Palestinian control on the West Bank. This trip allegedly was designed to polish her “international” credentials, but Lord, it is just serving to underscore how truly stupid, shallow and ill-informed she is.

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  34. DellaDash said on March 22, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Not to forget corrupt ‘President’ Diem (South Viet Nam), another sideways tilt in a ragged line of US puppet dominos.

    Too bad they couldn’t have fired the monumental off-camera hissy fit a thwarted SheWho must have thrown, instead of 110 cruise missiles.

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  35. John G. Wallace said on March 22, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    If you look into the first Gulf War, prior to Saddam making a grab for Kuwait, our ambassador April Glaspie told Iraqi officials (don’t recall if that included Saddam) that the United States would consider it an Iraqi affair, a border dispute, and a regional issue provided Iraq only invade a small portion of Kuwait that was not an oil producing region. We gave tacit approval to the Iraqis and Saddam took a bigger and more productive portion of Kuwait than we suggested was acceptable, i.e. oil fields.

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  36. Jolene said on March 22, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Have you all been watching al Jazeera English at all during these past few weeks? I was surprised to find that it is part of my cable service*, but, since I discovered it, I’ve been entranced.

    There’s a lot of great coverage of the events occurring now in the Middle East, and quite a few good documentaries and good talk/interview shows as well. There’s some straight-out anti-Americanism, but, to my ears, very little. It’s been fascinating to get a different view of what it means to be a citizen of a hegemonic power. I mean, none of these talkers is wondering what Australia is doing and even China is rarely mentioned, unless it’s directly relevant, but what the U.S. has done or said or might do or say is never far from the conversation. Also, of course, it’s really interesting to hear the views of people who’d never appear on U.S. TV–Egyptian scholars, for instance. Just watched a touching documentary about a train operator in Iraq, whose life–no surprise–has not been improved by the U.S. occupation.

    In general, I’d say the news coverage is a cut or two above what we typically get. The reporting on Japan, for instance, has been both extensive and detailed. The sports coverage, of course, is rather different, as is the weather, where you’re likely to get a quick overview w/ references to New Delhi, Nigeria, or Doha. Lots of great accents too.

    *It’s on one of those MHz channels high up on your dial. To find out whether you can get it, click on and scroll down to the “Nationally” heading. Also, it streams live at

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  37. moe99 said on March 22, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    The funding cut off is $5 million. The F-15 we lost today cost $27-29 million. The 110 cruise missiles we fired were $600K apiece. The math is pretty depressing. And I haven’t even touched on what it would cost to retain childhood immunization.

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  38. brian stouder said on March 22, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    The news of the loss of the aircraft this morning was odd; all the emphasis was on the idea of “mechanical failure” as opposed to enemy fire – as if that makes any difference at all.

    And the “No Fly Zone” yip-yap is contradicted by the footage of blown up tanks and blazing convoys on roads, which looks a lot more like close air support than no-fly enforcement. I know that the “rah-rah” press is nothing new (at all) when it comes to military action, but still – it really struck me, this morning.

    President Obama is flatly wrong, in my opinion, but here we are.

    And as far as that goes, Dennis Kucinich can stuff his “impeachable offenses” back into his handbasket and go straight to hell, too. Only congress has the Constitutional authority to make war? President Thomas Jefferson, along with his SecState James Madison (who more or less fathered the Constitution and its ratification) sent the brand new United States Navy and Marines into a 4 year long Tripolitan war, and got an after-the-fact Congressional okey-doke a year into it.

    And here we are, 210 years later, on another grand adventure in exactly the same part of the world, against another piratical despot, and for reasons that are similarly cloudy. (And Thomas Jefferson would probably disapprove of a black man – let alone one who isn’t a Virginian – sitting in “the Presidential chair” in any case, but we digress)

    Time to go to bed.

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  39. Dave said on March 22, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    About $1,900 a year to insure three cars, three drivers, one a college student with a car at school and all the cars are a minimum ten years old. Yes, we tend to get them and drive them for a long time.

    Bobolink at #19, it’s true about the distance from the residence to the campus, when our daughter was attending a school that was not quite far enough to get the reduction, our agent generously took into consideration that if you were to travel the “long” way, it would be that far. They do this on the premise that the student could come home every weekend and drive around, but if the campus is a little farther away, they won’t travel home every weekend.

    I’ve lived in Indiana for 25 years now and found it backward then and find it backward now. Although its true that the only two states we’ve ever lived in are Ohio and Indiana, with a more than passing familiarity with Florida and see faults with all of them, it has always felt like anything in Indiana has to be dragged kicking and screaming into any advancement.

    Having spent the winter down here in Florida and watching this governor operate, I think that he might be trying to give Florida away to robber barons or something. I had thought we were going to be back in Indiana by now but my 83 year old MIL has suffered a stroke and we fear for the worst, to put it mildly. Frankly, she’s now in hospice care and so fearing for the worst is merely a phrase one says. We’re waiting would be more proper to say.

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  40. prospero said on March 23, 2011 at 12:30 am


    That Governor gave Bernie Madoff a run for his money for biggest crook in American history. But that’s OK, you’ve got Marco Rubio, who’s never met a lie he wouldn’t tell over and over. Florida, home of jorts and obscene mullets.

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  41. prospero said on March 23, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Brian, I agree, it would have been better to sit this out, Does this country have allies , or not. Egypat has the same planes the US does. Why didn’t they carry this out? I imagine it was fun blowing up Gadaffi’s tanks, but why should the USA have to do this? This is a case so obviouus of damned one way and damned the exact opposite, and it’s all because he’s the black guy in the Oval Office. Huge numbers of people will disagree with anything he does, like EJ Dionne and Paul Krugman, because, holy shit, he’s Black.

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  42. prospero said on March 23, 2011 at 12:56 am

    John G. April Glaspie actually encouraged Saddam to invade Kuwait, Then Saddams’s soldiers slaughtered premature babies, we know from absolutely bullshit testimony in the US House, from the daughter of the Kuwaiti politician that told the whopper about Saddam, pitching a rocket at Kuwait City years later. Lies. lies. lies. All that is necessary for DynCorp and Halliburton to spring into action.

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  43. Dexter said on March 23, 2011 at 1:48 am

    brianstouder: The reason that the press was over-emphasizing the fact that the lost jet crashed due to mechanical failure was to hoodwink Congress into giving them even more billions for more modern warcraft. Oh no, we can’t be flying around in antiquated airplanes, now can we?
    I also am a sycophant of Dennis Kucinich when it comes to these wars. At times during the ’08 debates he was the only one calling for cessation to these awful wars. The wars are just plodding along…Kucinich wants it to stop. I concur.
    How did you feel when you studied the Vietnam-US war and found that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was contrived and reported as truth…when it never happened as reported?
    All those lost lives, and it started with a lie…fast forward to WMD, the biggest lie ever, and off to war again the US went.
    Now Mullen, Ham, Dick Lugar, and others from all political walks are scratching their heads as to what the US objective is.
    Even if the body gets it wrong , I sure as hell want Congressional approval before acts of wa are unleashed.
    And get off this “madman” stuff…Qadaffi was in New York City recently; if he is such a despot, why was he allowed to go back to Libya? No, the US government calls him an insane creep and the sheep follow. I don’t believe much of anything I hear about Qadaffi…the truthfulness of the US government is what I question.

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  44. Julie Robinson said on March 23, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Raise your hands if your Obama disillusionment is almost complete. Yup, thought so.

    After getting up at 4am I logged into the computer to find that my flight has been diverted, whatever than means. No explanation was offered, and no attempt to notify me was made. No other flights, I have to wait and try again tomorrow. I hate flying.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on March 23, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Obama, Bush, whatever. The reason we’re in Afghanistan is because no one, not anyone in the Foggy Bottom brain trust, nor across the creek in Langley, and emphatically no one in the five-sided puzzle palace can figure out what to do about Pakistan. In the not-so-long run, I’m much more worried about Pakistan than I am than the North Korean tragedy theatre. Theoretically they could spasmodically thrash and obliterate hundreds of thousands in Seoul, and so must be watched, but it’s nothing compared to the jangling hair-trigger xenophobic fever swamp that is the Partition product of pieces of the P*unjabi, A*fghan, K*ashmiri, & S*ind territories. It’s another colonialist franken-project gone horribly awry, and they pursued nukes with a passion from the earliest opportunity, with an oft-stated interest by mainstream political factions to use them against India. With the fifth largest army in the world, and at least a hundred warheads, mostly attached to missiles aimed at Mumbai & Delhi, a sudden shift in authority and upwards of 50 million would die.

    50 million dead. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of briefings presidents of these United States get, and the sense of relative helplessness that goes with being “the most powerful man in the free world.” Pray for Pres. Obama, and for wisdom, and especially discernment to him & his advisers.

    But Afghanistan is us holding a bucket under a leak because we’re afraid to go on the roof, and aren’t sure we can find the leak up top and fix it anyhow. If we walk away from the bucket, it might ruin the next floor down, so we catch the drips. Ditto Iraq, which is & always was three-quarters about plastering in Iran before it starts oozing through to nuke Israel and light up Saudi Arabia.

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  46. Jolene said on March 23, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Jeff, did you see A Mighty Heart, the movie about the death of Daniel Pearl? The very look of it is enough to make you afraid of Pakistan. So much sweating, swarming humanity and so little wealth and rationality. A scary place, indeed.

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