Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Dispatches: Duke in the Tank, Teenagers in Duncan, No Tweeting in Turkey, and Vlad Signs the Papers.

Krzyzewski, you rotten sonofabitch!

Who is paying you off, you wretched little squirt? How much did it cost some bookie to get your guys to go into the tank for the second year in a row? I'm starting to think there is a Higher Power at work here. Last March it was Lehigh and now it is Mercer. That's right, Mercer. I didn't even know where the God damned school was until I googled it a few minutes ago. Just be glad I'm a long way from Durham and not a member of the NRA. Hey, if a jury will let George Zimmerman off the hook, they'll never convict me after I tell them what you've done to my brackets over the years. They'll rule it utterly justifiable.

Meanwhile, in less personal matters, The Oklahoman reported today, Michael Jones and Chancey Luna will go to trial in August down in Duncan. They are the two quaint country lads who are charged with the shooting death of Australian, Christopher Lane last year. Both pleaded innocent. Police say the motive for the crime was something along the lines of--well--they wanted to kill someone and Lane was handy. A third person involved, James Edwards, is turning state's evidence and in exchange for his testimony he'll be charged as an accessory. Nolan Clay, who wrote the story, notes the trial date might be significantly delayed because Luna is requesting a change of venue and at some point the young charmers might ask for separate trials. If convicted Luna and Jones are looking at life without the possibility of parole. Duncan authorities still haven't located the weapon used in the attack.

In Turkey, Prime Minister, Tayyif Erdogan has issued an order banning the social media service, Twitter. He did so apparently because people use it to say bad things about him. Several European nations have roundly condemned the move. His response to their objections was, "The international community can say this, can say that. I don't care at all. Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is."

Well they might, but at least one expert reveals the average Turk can get around the censorship if they can, "...operate a computer at a minimum level..." In fact instructions on how to dodge the ban are not only showing up on Facebook, but also being spray painted on the walls of buildings in Istanbul. A similar prohibition of Youtube was abandoned by the Turkish government four years ago mainly because it proved so ineffective. Erdogan and his administration are caught up in a massive corruption scandal which he maintains is nothing more than a "plot" to get him out of office.

Over in Moscow, Vladimir Putin signed papers which formally annexed the Crimean Peninsula, officially adding it to the Russian Federation. Everyone in town celebrated and there were fireworks and the like. The U.S refusal to recognize the act hasn't put a dent in Vlad's enthusiasm. He called the annexation a, "remarkable event."

Around the same time NBC reported the Ukrainian government signed a deal with the European Union which creates a, "political association agreement." The Russian Foreign Minister quickly claimed any such agreement was premature. He also said the new Ukrainian leadership lacked popular support, yada, yada, yada. The head of the U.N. then showed up in Kiev and called for cool heads to prevail.

It is estimated a minimum of 20,000 Russian troops, including airborne forces, and special ops units are camped just outside Ukraine's eastern border. They are backed by armor and helicopter gunships. The thinking here is Brother Putin will let the pot cool for a bit. Then, at the suitable moment, his military will respond to the, "overwhelming desire" of Ukraine's eastern provinces to join Crimea in the big happy family of Mother Russia.

The U.S. and Europe will scream bloody murder and there will be further sanctions. However, in the end, none of the noise, or economic consequences will mean squat to ol' Vladimir. When you're busy rebuilding an empire you aren't distracted by the minor things.

Yes, just another Friday in the books. The curse of the Dukies continues, teenagers face life in prison because they're stupid and had their hands on a gun, The Turkish P.M. can't stand Twitter, and the brutal truth is Putin is going to do whatever he wants.

Ladies and gentlemen--the bar is open.


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