Putin’s cleaning house
Julia Ioffe at The New Republic: “While the world awaits Sunday’s referendum in Crimea and nervously watches the Russian troops massing on Ukraine’s eastern border, the world is missing that, in Moscow, Vladimir Putin is busily cleaning house. … Within the span of a couple months, the Kremlin, by hook and by crook, has cleared all the media underbrush. There’s suddenly not much left of the independent media, even of what little of it there was left after Putin’s first two terms at the wheel. …
“What Moscow liberals are discovering is how quickly the ground has shifted beneath their feet since Putin came back to power in 2012, how futile and pathetic their resistance, and how easily wartime mobilization can steamroll them into nonexistence in a way it couldn’t when Russia went to war with Georgia in 2008. This time, even their tiny Internet ghetto isn’t safe anymore. And it’s not clear that, once all this is over and Crimea is safely part of Russia, that the regime will roll back these measures. In fact, it’s highly likely that it won’t.”
Not so Irish anymore
Chris Briem at Null Space picks up some figures from the Census Bureau’s 2008-2012 American Community Survey and writes: “Yes, we will all be Irish for a day, but how much has changed in the city of Pittsburgh?
“In 1910, over 18K residents of the city of Pittsburgh’s population were literally born in Ireland. The number was actually down from over 23K a decade earlier. As of the latest data, there are a grand total of 89 native-born Irish residing within the city. Not a typo. 89 as in 100 minus 11. About the same number as those born in Peru (87) and a lot less than the number of those born in China writ large (3,614).”
The upside of hunger
Satire from The Borowitz Report: “President Obama has sparked outrage in Congress and renewed calls for his impeachment by signing a daring presidential memorandum that would pay workers enough to eat. The memorandum, which is based on the president’s view that people should be paid for the hours they actually work, is shaping up as one of the most controversial and incendiary actions of his presidency.
“House Republican leaders held a press conference this morning to warn Obama that, by advancing his agenda of paying people for the work they do, he is ‘playing with political fire.’ … House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., [told] reporters, ‘With one stroke of the pen, President Obama is removing the single greatest incentive for work: hunger. Apparently, President Obama needs a lesson in American history,’ he said. ‘Hunger built the railroads. Hunger picked the crops. When the American people learn more about this action of the president’s, they will see it for what it is: a hunger-killer.’ ”
Role reversal in South Asia
Zahrah Nasir, under the headline “Galloping Invisibility,” writes in Pakistan’s Express Tribune: “Female repression has, despite high flying claims to the contrary, become more of a norm in this part of the world than the vast majority of people care to admit … Actions which, particularly under the pressure of terrorism and outright war … threaten to subjugate the feminine completely.
“Patriarchy has long displaced historical matriarchy which, centuries ago, was fairly common throughout this region and across Central Asia as a whole where, a surprising legacy of Genghis Khan, women ruled the roost and led men on the battlefield as well as in the business arena. In the hundreds of years since then, a reasonable measure of respect for females endured in various ways and to be female was to be accorded a position that was automatically ‘guarded’ by dignity and honor. A woman was, except when used as a pawn or prize in tribal feuds, safe in her own home. Sadly and unforgivably, this is no longer the case and tragically, now applies equally to children as well.”
Obamacare under fire
From About.com: “It looks like Obamacare will miss its enrollment goal of 7 million people by March 31, as only 4 million have signed up so far. Republicans haven’t been this excited since the invention of khakis.” — Seth Meyers on NBC
“Our president has gotten so desperate that he appeared on this website Funny or Die. By the way, ‘funny or die’ is also the ultimatum you got from Obamacare’s death panels.” — Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central
Compiled by Greg Victor (firstname.lastname@example.org).