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Friday, November 22, 2013

Good Morning, News!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Before all the other news this morning, about things that aren't exactly unimportant... Suffering citizens in the otherwise forgotten Central African Republic are enduring a humanitarian crisis of violence and reprisals (massacres, child soldiers, executions, and the like) that may, according to some observers, have already mushroomed into full-blown genocide.

Ukraine was all set to sign a deal joining up with the European Union. Until Russian leader Vladimir Putin showed up, all smiles, and put a gun against Ukraine's head, daring it to defy his steely, KGB-hardened will.

Putin's still trying to put his stamp on a deal to end Syria's civil war, insisting the "West" prevail upon Syria's fractious rebel groups to show up in Switzerland next spring for another round of likely failed peace talks.

Hamid Karzai, our man in Afghanistan, stunned and surprised American diplomats yesterday with a sudden insistence that a military pact everyone's been going bonkers to get signed ASAP maybe now wait until after he's re-elected president. In case everyone hates it. And, by proxy, him.

Senate Democrats showed spine, finally, and did away with extra-constitutional rules allowing the chamber's minority party (an ironic appellation—because, Republicans...) to filibuster presidential nominations to judicial and cabinet posts. Something like half of all blocked presidential nominees ever have come since 2009. Thanks, Senator Merkley—Oregon's own—for giving your betters a nudge.

THANKS, OBAMA. Higher-than-anticipated demand and other technical glitches overloaded and blew up launch day websites for the Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox One. (And now read along as I tell jokes like television's J. Leno: "Maybe the web address ps4.healthcare.gov should have given people a clue." Get it? Good. Because it's SO FUNNY. NOT! [Remember that one? From the early 1990s? (I do! [Obviously!])])

But not all Obamacare sites are as mucked up as Oregon's or the federal government's! California has been recording thousands of daily enrollments all month, after a slow start in October. It's also blowing off Obama's rule change allowing people to keep their lousy current insurance plans because they're too agog over the prospect of change to find something better.

The indignity and anti-glamour of modern air travel—Kafkaesque lines, cavity searches, shoes off, tight seats, no more chicken Kiev—is about to hit a new low. The FCC is ready to allow cell phone calls at low altitudes, the first step on the way to ripping out plane seats altogether and putting in bars hung with hand straps.

The next stock crash is probably nigh. The Dow Jones index, with pretty much a yawn, just topped 16,000 for the first time.

Among the best JFK footnotes you'll read today, if you haven't read it already, is this first-person account from an Associated Press writer pressed into service as a pallbearer for Lee Harvey Oswald.

Voter-approved pot sales in Colorado, and assurances from the feds about tolerance, apparently won't keep the feds from sweeping through and raiding dispensaries whenever they see fit.

"Uncle" Joe Biden made a big offer to treat everyone for lunch at this "one new sandwich joint" he wanted to check out. Which was nice except he was short on cash. So he sheepishly had to ask to "borrow a sawbuck," promising he'd repay "every cent, just as soon I cash my paycheck at the liquor store tomorrow night."

A self-righteous charlatan who preyed upon people at their lowest and neediest moments has died. Sylvia Browne was 77.

DANCING CHICKEN SPERMS AND EGGS. DANCING CHICKEN SPERMS AND EGGS. DANCING CHICKEN SPERMS AND EGGS. A PH.D THESIS IN SEVERAL PARTS.

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