Channeling Rasputin

          If you find yourself at work with not much to do sometime, and the boss isn’t around, take a look at The Economist’s website. If you happen to be an economist, you can probably look at it – in fact, you probably have – with impunity, but the rest of you just wait until the boss’s back is turned. At you’ll find a most interesting feature called “Global Electoral College: What if all the world could vote.” There, all the world is, indeed, voting either for Barrack or John. When I visited the site the feature was pretty much brand-spanking, and only some – o.k., exactly – 8,011 electoral votes had been won, but those represent votes cast all around the world, from Egypt, Australia, Russia and the entirety of Europe to Tierra del Fuego and a couple of minor principalities in the Pacific, not to mention Nunavut, and of all those 8,011 electoral votes from all those countries, only 12 were for our friend John. Poor guy. It’s the same as if he had won every single electoral vote from Tajikistan, but no more. I wonder if people could have voted Continue reading


           Whew. What a lot of hubbub in the Caucasus!  And the whirlwind amongst the geopolitical blowhards who are trying to figure it all out is such that it’s disturbing local weather patterns.  You know the scene:  a butterfly flaps its wings in the Caucasus, and spawns a tornado a half a world away.  What is becoming clear is that Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili (Misha to his friends) acted recklessly in the 7 August shelling of the South Ossetian capitol, Tskhinvali, theoretically in response to Russian troops moving through the Roki tunnel from North to South Ossetia and otherwise raising a ruckus.  He was reckless, but his recklessness was not a function of excess aggressiveness, it was because he fell into a Russian trap.  Russia had been conducting flyovers of the region, staged massive military maneuvers on the border and otherwise rattled sabers. That they could switch from “peacekeeping” to “ousting the aggressor” at the drop of a shapka ushanka (hat) is just too convenient for anyone to not be at least tempted to cry wolf (mixed metaphors, anyone?). Just like in Chechnya, only this time the Russians said they were doing just what Georgia said it was doing this time: restoring order within a sovereign state. Continue reading

News botting: WWOD?

          In these days of geopolitical percolation when nation states boil through statehood to dissolution as easily as steam bubbles in a mud bath, I’ve become interested enough to become a little news-bot. I troll the international press, snagging on worthless, submersed fallen logs of information as often as catching an interesting trend, but it passes the time. Of course the topic de jour is Kosovo, when it isn’t (when hasn’t it been?) some dusty country, brimming with oil. Energy is and always will be the topic, but nowadays it’s not all about who’s got it, but how they get it to you.  In the American press there hasn’t been as much attention paid to Pipelineistan  as there has been to Islamistan, Continue reading