Tag: Ukraine

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We All Need a Smiley Break

Flashback two years, to May 2, 2020: SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns compelled Californians to avoid anyone and to otherwise practice so-called safe social distancing. The seeming hardship would pale compared to racial riots that would erupt weeks later.

One of my neighbors literally put on a happy face—among several encouraging, or funny, street decorations to adorn this University Heights property and/or the sidewalk straddling Meade Avenue. Seems like every time I walked by something different greeted. Thank you.

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It’s a Cultural Cold War

The United States continues to seek new punishments against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which started on Feb. 24, 2022. Americans rally to the cause with good intentions that may not mean much and that may do more harm than good. For example, pouring out Vodka and evoking spirit (no pun intended) of the Boston Tea Party accomplishes what?

As Dan Kois writes for Slate: “Stop Boycotting Random Russian Things. You are not stopping the war in Ukraine”. Nutgraph: “It is dumb to boycott things that have no actual connection to Vladimir Putin or even, in some cases, to Russia. But it’s also foolish to demonize every vestige of Russian culture, and ordinary Russian citizens, and Russians abroad, as a result of a catastrophic war launched by a despot”.

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I Wasn’t Prepared for This

On Valentine’s Day, we rushed to be among the people signing up for “The Prepper’s Roadmap”. Initial enrollment ended on February 18, and we paid $197 for the privilege. The course seeks to educate enrollees about how to prepare for calamities, whether they be natural disasters (like earthquakes or wildfires here in San Diego) or crisis of human instigation (like cyberattack that takes down banking systems or power grids), among others. I would recommend the educational series, if the first-round of registrations hadn’t closed. You can’t sign up today; in the future, though.

My wife and I aren’t so-called preppers—and we never expect be. Meaning: If you’re looking for a horde of food or supplies during an apocalypse, we won’t have it. Our apartment is small and we aren’t of the mindset. That said, we do recognize the increasingly dangerous times in which we live, when looking at advancing economic crisis or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for example. Not being naturally paranoid about catastrophes and preparation for them, Annie and I liked the idea of getting some no-nonsense advice from someone who is sensible rather than the typically fanatical.

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The Difference Between Today and Yesterday

Gasoline prices continue their relentless rise here in San Diego. Regular unleaded now is $1 or more per gallon than on Feb. 24, 2022—when started Russia’s Ukrainian invasion. The Featured Image and companion compare changes over one day. The Arco is located at El Cajon Blvd and Texas Street, where North Park and University Heights meet.

But 30 cents a gallon more than yesterday, or the day before, isn’t the bigger difference. I awoke this morning to news alerts that Joseph Biden banned importation of Russian oil. Price to pump fuel is least of the problems. This sanction, on top of the others, leads to one conclusion, and a single consequence: The United States and Russia are unofficially at war. All that remains is declaration by one side or the other.

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The Con is On

If you’re banging the drum of warning about impending climate doom or advocating essentially destroying Russia to save Ukraine, what will you say when the gasoline price soars past $6, $7, $8 a gallon or you’re hungry for lack of something—anything—to eat? Surely those, ah, causes will be meaningless then—and you lie to yourself if thinking otherwise.

Reason demands that people like you stop prattling emotions, wrapped in crisis, to sway public opinion and political policy. People like you share the critically common characteristics of grifters. Today, in the United States, following the change of administration in Washington, D.C., the con is on.

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The Law of Unintended Consequences

I came upon the strangest circumstance today: Firemen rushing into a home with water hoses to put out nothing. The residents hadn’t called for emergency services, and they were surprised to be cleared out onto the street. The Featured Image, taken quickly using iPhone 13 Pro, shows some of the gallant first responders after everyone realized that a bystander had badly blundered.

This, ah, older gentleman observed what he thought was smoke coming out of a vent, which is why he rang 911. What he really saw: Steam from someone showering. Whoops. My first inclination would be to bang on the door yelling “Fire!” Wouldn’t you? Maybe he did but there was no response because the person was in the shower and she couldn’t hear him.

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Russia Roars, and It’s War

Russia’s incursion into neighboring Ukraine began in the wee hours local time there. I started seeing news stories early last night; California is about 10 hours behind. A tumultuous day of military advancement, impotent response from the U.S. President, and relentless news commentary, editorialization, and misinformation followed.

I watch and wait, understanding that Russian leader Vladimir Putin acts now for many reasons—perceived, and real, ineptitude of American leadership is among them. The troop withdrawal debacle in Afghanistan demonstrated U.S. military weakness, including decision-making capabilities of the Commander-in-Chief. Surely, Putin—and other autocrats—calculate opportunity.

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Nuclear

This morning, as my daughter and I sat in our aging Volvo stopped in traffic, I saw that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had moved its headquarters to Rockville, Md. The facility is on a section of Rockville Pike (MD 355) that I don’t normally drive. But I do recall construction going on in that area for years. Now I know who is the tenant.

Anyway, the NRC headquarters prompted a discussion with my daughter about nuclear power plants and radiation and the role the regulatory agency plays in trying to ensure nuclear facilities are safe. I gave her the example of Chernobyl and what bad things can happen because of radiation contamination.