Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance

Can someone help me understand what’s going on in the Ukraine?

112 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Protesters are clashing with the government, DougJ.

  3. 3
    MattF says:

    This may help:

    NW Ukraine is more europe-oriented, SE Ukraine is more Russified.

  4. 4
    chopper says:

    please terminate yourself immediately, citizen.

  5. 5
    Comrade Jake says:

    Saw the title, thought this would be about Sully’s efforts to get his subscribers to re-up.

  6. 6
    srv says:

    The Ukraine is deciding if they want to be Putin’s biotch, or the EUs. This would be easier if the country was split in half.

    Coming to a capital nearer you within a generation or so.

  7. 7
    Big R says:

    @chopper: Computer is your FRIEND. Computer LOVES you.

  8. 8
    John Arbuthnot Fisher says:

    You could start by saying just “Ukraine” rather than “the Ukraine.” This is the functional equivalent of saying “the New York.”

  9. 9
    elmo says:

    Minor nit: it’s “Ukraine,” pozhalujsta, not “The Ukraine.” Spasibo.

  10. 10
    Trollhattan says:

    @John Arbuthnot Fisher:

    To be fair, it’s how everybody in Southern California addresses their freeways.

  11. 11
    Roger Moore says:


    NW Ukraine is more europe-oriented, SE Ukraine is more Russified.

    I think this is the core issue. There are roughly equal numbers of Ukrainians who want the country to look west to the EU and who want to look east to Russia. The government is currently controlled by the pro-Russia party, and they’re refusing closer ties to the EU because of it. That’s provided a trigger for protests by the pro-Western party, but the whole east vs. west orientation is the driving force behind all their political struggles.

  12. 12
    Hawes says:

    @srv: while somewhat true, equating the EU with Putin’s Russia seems a first order false equivalency.

  13. 13
    jl says:

    @Trollhattan: Which, put all together, maybe take up as much space as Ukraine, and on a bad day, any trip takes about as long was walking across The Ukraine. So the mix up is understandable, at least for inhabitants of the The Los Angeles.

  14. 14
    elmo says:


    Not everybody! Only Angelenos. People in San Diego refer to “five” “fifteen,” “eight,” and “eight-oh-five” like civilized folk.

  15. 15
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Putin wants to reannex Ukraine.

    Most Ukrainians are not interested in being ruled from Moscow again.

    I think that pretty much sums up the issues, here.

  16. 16
    kd bart says:

    Ukraine Not Weak

  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @John Arbuthnot Fisher:

    Well, The New York is, well, THE New York. If you can make it there…

  18. 18
    danielx says:

    “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.”

    Seriously creepy, but no more (and possibly less) than I’d expect in the event of mass civil disturbances in this country. Here the powers that be would shut down cellular service in the vicinity of such disturbances. Sounds paranoid, but on the other hand every time I think I’m too paranoid something else comes up to prove me wrong.

  19. 19
    jl says:

    I read it as equating ‘being bitches of’ rather than equating Russia and the EU themselves.

    I did not know that the inhabitants of San Diego had their own freeway pidgin English. Ooooowhet kinna Californian language izzat, myaaan?

  20. 20
    KG says:

    @elmo: your use of the world civilized within the same sentence as “people in San Diego” is strange.

  21. 21
    GregB says:

    The choice is between a soft dictatorship and a creeping plutocracy. Choose wisely.

  22. 22
    The Other Chuck says:

    This title totally needs to become a rotating tag line.

  23. 23
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Back in the old days, one of the key objectives that any military coup plotters (h/t David Letterman, who apparently as a kid had neighbors named “The Coupplotters”) had was to seize control of the telephone exchange. To control communications in the capital city.

    So the military planning to shut down cell phone service follows from this logic. Control communications to get control of the “disturbance” situation.

  24. 24
    Trollhattan says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    President for Life Putin want Ukrane back in SovRussia’s welcoming arms. To sweeten deal, Putin take off shirt, clean up Chernobyl himself. Dealski?

  25. 25
    MattF says:

    @KG: Now, now. The sea lion problem is just La Jolla:

  26. 26
    Anoniminous says:


    The ability to shut down selected parts of cell service was needed for a good reason: during an emergency everybody and their dog outside the affected areas would call everyone (and their dog) in the affected area, crashing local communication for the emergency responders, their support teams, and Incident Command.

    This ability can also be used for other purposes.

  27. 27
    DougJ says:

    @The Other Chuck:

    I already made it one.

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    The swooning that is sweeping the wingtards in this country over the prospect of Putin taking off his shirt can be heard on the Klingon home world.

  29. 29
    rikyrah says:

    Join the Fight

    by BooMan
    Wed Jan 22nd, 2014 at 11:56:56 AM EST

    I think the more affluent, better-educated wing of the progressive movement often doesn’t really appreciate how critical the labor movement is to the overall health and viability of the left. If you haven’t worked in a union job, and you don’t have close family who work union jobs, then you might be oblivious. But the Republicans understand perfectly well, and they’re doing something about it:

    Passing right-to-work in Michigan was more than a policy victory. It was a major score for Republicans who have long sought to weaken the Democratic Party by attacking its sources of funding and organizing muscle. “Michigan big labor literally controls one of the major political parties,” Dick DeVos said last January. “I’m not suggesting they have influence; I’m saying they hold total dominance, command, and control.” So DeVos and his allies hit labor—and the Democratic Party—where it hurt: their bank accounts. By attacking their opponents’ revenue stream, they could help put Michigan into play for the GOP heading into the 2016 presidential race—as it was more than three decades earlier, when the state’s Reagan Democrats were key to winning the White House.
    More broadly, the Michigan fight has given hope—and a road map—to conservatives across the country working to cripple organized labor and defund the left. Whereas party activists had for years viewed right-to-work as a pipe dream, a determined and very wealthy family, putting in place all the elements of a classic political campaign, was able to move the needle in a matter of months. “Michigan is Stalingrad, man,” one prominent conservative activist told me. “It’s where the battle will be won or lost.”

  30. 30
    Venice says:

    Ukraine has a long and bitter history with Russia that goes back to the Tsars.

    This is today’s installment of that. Russia asserts domination and Ukraine resists, usually unsuccessfully.

  31. 31
    srv says:

    @Hawes: The Ukraine is an economic mess and the Germans will take advantage of it just like they did with southern Europe.

  32. 32

    @elmo: I hear much more of “The 5” and “The 15” down here in SD than not. *shrugs*

  33. 33
    Paul in KY says:

    @KG: Yeah, considering they let those 2 cops walk who murdered that homeless guy. I think the Feds will try them. They damn well better.

  34. 34
    rikyrah says:

    An ugly experiment in North Carolina
    01/22/14 10:01 AM—Updated 01/22/14 10:03 AM
    By Steve Benen

    When congressional Republicans blocked an extension of federal unemployment benefits, they did so based on a specific economic theory: the benefits hurt those struggling more than they help. The idea is, jobless Americans, if desperate enough, will re-enter the workforce. Cutting off benefits, Republicans said, will give people the “incentive” they need.

    The theory has always been as dubious as it is ruthless, but in one important way, we already know the GOP’s argument is wrong. An experiment of sorts has been underway in North Carolina, where Republicans slashed the state’s unemployment program, reducing benefits and limiting the eligibility period to just 20 weeks.

    Annie Lowrey takes a look at the preliminary evidence of how that’s working out for the state.

    The state’s unemployment rate has plummeted to 7.4 percent from 8.8 percent, the sharpest drop in the country. In part, that is because more jobless workers are connecting with work. But an even greater number of workers have simply given up on finding a job. […]

    [S]tatistics don’t tell the full story. North Carolina still has nearly 350,000 listed as officially unemployed, and many more, including those living in depressed rural areas, have given up even looking for a job. For them, the safety net is gone, and largely out of sight, countless families have slipped deeper into poverty

    Also keep in mind, many of those who’ve re-entered the workforce out of desperation have done so by abandoning their profession and taking a job that pays far less.

    It’s why the drop in the unemployment rate, at best, presents an incomplete picture.

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    True. Cell phone networks (even land line phone systems) are not designed everyone and their mom to be chatting on them all at the same time.

    One of the terrible things the intertubes did to the old landline phone infrastructure was lengthen the average time of a telephone call, as initially all those connections to the tubes were via landlines into telco exchanges that were designed expecting a connection to last, on average, about three minutes. Modem connections lasted much longer, of course, and the exchanges were swamped, fast busy signals became commonplace, and bellheads (as opposed to netheads) were aghast. Their assumptions about average connection time were rendered obsolete in a very short period.

  36. 36
    rikyrah says:

    Election panel eyes reforms
    01/22/14 12:57 PM
    By Steve Benen

    On the night President Obama won a second term, he thanked “every American who participated” in the election, whether they voted “for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time.” He quickly added a line that wasn’t in the written text: “By the way, we have to fix that.”

    And as we talked about last March, the president didn’t forget about the issue. Obama referenced the issue again in his inaugural address: “Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.” A month later, in a State of the Union address, the president went a step further, not only emphasizing the need for election reforms, but vowing to create “a nonpartisan commission to improve the voting experience in America – and it definitely needs improvement.”

    The White House assembled the commission, which, following six months of effort, released its report this morning. It’s actually better than I expected it to be.

    States should implement online voter registration and expand early voting in order to reduce long lines at the voting booth, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration recommended in a report issued Wednesday.

    The 10-member commission, announced by President Barack Obama during his 2013 State of the Union address, was formed to examine the issues that led to crowding at some polling places in 2012. It was chaired by Bob Bauer, former general counsel for the 2012 Obama campaign, and Ben Ginsberg, the Mitt Romney campaign’s former top election lawyer. The panel based its recommendations on the premise that nobody should have to wait more than a half-hour to vote

  37. 37
    KG says:

    @Paul in KY: that was Orange County, which is between LA and SD… or was there another one?

  38. 38
    Bjacques says:

    And Ukraine is also worth 2 armies in Risk.

    NL cops SMS people whose phones were in the vicinity of a footballl riot, asking them to please come in for a chat.

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Makes lots of sense, if you are interested in an actual democracy.

    Rethuglicans, of course, are not, therefore they will stonewall.

  40. 40
    rikyrah says:

    Amid growing questions about lane closures on the George Washington Bridge and Sandy aid to Hoboken, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is facing an additional charge about his administration’s disbursement of relief aid. State data, obtained from the Christie administration through a lawsuit by the Fair Share Housing Center, reveal a dramatic racial gap in who received preliminary approval for funds from Sandy relief programs. According to the data, decried by groups including the New Jersey NAACP, the Latino Action Network and the New York Times editorial board, the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Program rejected 35.1 percent of African-American applicants, 18.1 percent of Latino applicants, and only 13.6 percent of Caucasian applicants. The Resettlement Program rejected 38.1 percent of African-Americans, 20.4 percent of Latinos and 13.6 percent of Caucasians.

    Speaking to Salon late last week, FSHC staff attorney Adam Gordon urged the federal government to expand its investigation to include the racially disparate aid distribution, accused the Christie administration of trying to change the topic by attacking his organization, and charged “neglect and callous indifference in the needs of Latino and African-American communities impacted by Sandy.” A condensed version of our conversation follows. Your assessment of this data shows that African-Americans were more than twice as likely as whites to get rejected by the RREM program and by the Resettlement program. What explains that disparity? We’re still trying to figure that out. And really, we’re talking to a lot of people who have been in that situation who are African-American and Latino and, you know, a lot of people feel like they’ve been rejected for no reason. You know, we’ve talked to people who live in mold-infested houses [with] serious damage, and got a rejection letter — and they can’t figure it out. So we’re still trying to figure it out.

  41. 41
    PaulW says:

    the dictator in charge of Ukraine is panicking, big time.

    Thoughtcrime. All opposition is Thoughtcrime, whether it’s been thought or not.

    The bit about refusing people to assemble in groups bigger than three people is just like Umbridge’s decrees in Order of the Phoenix.

  42. 42
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Venice: Ukraine has a long and bitter history with Russia that goes back to the Tsars.

    It goes back *way* longer than that.

    It’s not quite as simple as Western Ukraine looking EU-ward and Eastern Ukraine looking toward Russia. Younger people in many parts of the country are sick and tired of a leadership class that is robbing the country blind, openly. Today’s university students were born after independence, they are intelligent, literate, Internet-savvy and they have traveled, or know lots of people who have traveled, to Europe, and they want to be more like Europe, where, despite political differences, you can more often than not assume that political leaders are acting in the interests of their country as opposed to their Swiss accounts. So the divide is nearly as much generational as it is geographic/linguistic.

  43. 43
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    The evidence that Christie is an asshole continues to pile up.

    Eventually the damn will break.

    And the Outlaw Joisey Whale will be unable to come up for air, and will drown.

    Popcorn, please.

  44. 44
    rikyrah says:

    Imani ABL @AngryBlackLady
    Oh, you’re worried the government is tapping your phone, dudebros? I’m worried that the GOP is trying to set up shop in my nether regions.

    1:29 PM – 22 Jan 2014

    Imani ABL @AngryBlackLady
    President Obama is not messing around when it comes to women’s rights.

    1:28 PM – 22 Jan 2014

    Imani ABL @AngryBlackLady
    But let’s make the midterms all about the NSA and fucking Wikileaks. That will be a real help to your mothers, sisters, daughters, nieces.

    1:31 PM – 22 Jan 2014

    Imani ABL @AngryBlackLady
    My point is not that you can’t care about NSA surveillance, but that those screaming loudest about it don’t seem to care about repro rights.

    1:35 PM – 22 Jan 2014

  45. 45
    jl says:

    @KG: I think it was Fullterton in northern Orange County, where there have been some notable cases where the police have seemed to eagerly and cheerfully shoot and beat things, beasts, and people with few or no consequences.

  46. 46
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    “Sympathy for the Devil” pretty much made the call on this particular phenomenon.

  47. 47
    Anoniminous says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Compounding the problem is the slow degeneration of the telephonic (LL and cell) system as MBAs with no engineering training finding and eliminating “uneconomical, costly, redundancies in the system.”

  48. 48
    KG says:

    @jl: yeah, Fullerton is in north Orange County, I grew up near by and have spent time there. Most of OC is a low crime area, but a lot of cops think they’re rolling in the mean streets, so a lot of stupid and sad things happen.

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    That, also, too. They don’t get that “redundancies” are features, not bugs, because they don’t really grasp that shit happens.

  50. 50
    rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s epic gamble
    By Greg Sargent
    January 21 at 5:06 pm

    A huge amount has already been written about the GOP’s over-reliance on aging downscale white voters, and what this means for the future of the two parties. For instance, Ron Brownstein has long argued that the Democratic Party’s increasing dependence on the “coalition of the ascendant” — young voters, minorities, and college-educated whites, particularly women — has meant that Dems are reorienting their priorities in a way that no longer ministers closely to the the preoccupations of non-college whites, who are declining as a share of the vote.

    That, in turn, has set in motion an argument over whether Republicans are taking a great political risk in failing to reform the party’s policy agenda to appeal to those growing consistencies.

    In a terrific piece, political scientist Alan Abramowitz frames this debate in even starker terms, noting that not only is this trend likely to continue; Republicans may be doomed to perpetuating it:

    Today, the Republican electoral coalition remains overwhelmingly white. Nonwhites made up only 10 percent of Romney voters according to the 2012 national exit poll. But the nonwhite share of Democratic voters has increased fairly steadily since the 1960s and that trend has accelerated since 1992. Nonwhites comprised 45 percent of all Obama voters in 2012, and a majority of Obama voters under age 40.

    The political significance of increasing racial diversity reflects the reality that, despite much progress in race relations over the past half century, American society remains deeply divided along racial lines. In many ways, the United States is still a segregated and unequal society. African Americans and Latinos continue to experience significantly worse health outcomes, poorer educational and job opportunities, inferior housing, higher unemployment and lower incomes than white Americans…These differences in life experiences and opportunities are reflected in sharply differing views on issues such as taxation, spending on social services and the proper role of government — as well as major differences in party identification and voting behavior.

    The growing dependence of Democratic candidates and office-holders on nonwhite voters, along with a Republican strategy of appealing to white voters unhappy with the Democratic Party’s racial and economic liberalism, has contributed to an ideological and regional realignment within the white electorate. Conservative whites in the South and elsewhere have moved increasingly into the Republican camp, while moderate-to-liberal whites in the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific states have moved increasingly into the Democratic camp.

    There is every reason to expect these trends will continue. Census data indicate that the nonwhite share of newly eligible voters will continue to grow for many years. Yet despite the threat that this trend poses to the future viability of the Republican Party in national elections, the influence of the ultra-conservative, anti-immigration tea party movement makes it unlikely that the GOP will be able to successfully appeal to this growing nonwhite electorate. As a result, the racial divide between the parties’ electoral coalitions is likely to increase over the next several election cycles.

  51. 51
    rikyrah says:

    Another blow to the Iran sanctions bill
    By Greg Sargent
    January 22 at 2:44 pm

    Add two more prominent Senators to the list of lawmakers who oppose a vote on an Iran sanctions bill right now: Patty Murray and Elizabeth Warren.

    Murray’s opposition — which she declared in a letter to constituents that was sent my way by a source — is significant, because she is a member of the Senate Dem leadership, which is now clearly split on how to proceed. While Chuck Schumer favors the Iran sanctions bill, Murray, Harry Reid and (reportedly) Dick Durbin now oppose it. This could make it less likely that it ever gets a vote.

    From Murray’s letter:

  52. 52
    rikyrah says:

    A good question for Republicans about the Affordable Care Act
    By Greg Sargent
    January 21 at 2:17 pm

    As I noted earlier today, the New York Times has a terrific piece on the “surge in sign-ups” that is happening in West Virginia, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. The Times reports that some 75,000 people have now enrolled in Medicaid (which the Dem governor expanded), a level of demand that has “surprised officials.”

    “Waitresses, fast food workers, security guards and cleaners described feeling intense relief that they are now protected from the punishing medical bills that have punched holes in their family budgets,” the Times says. “They spoke in interviews of reclaiming the dignity they had lost over years of being turned away from doctors’ offices because they did not have insurance.”

    Which raises a question: how would the GOP Senate candidate in West Virginia, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, respond if asked directly if she would take insurance away from all these people?

    Capito, of course, is a gung-ho supporter of Obamacare repeal. But she has hedged on the Medicaid expansion itself. In December, she reportedly “declined to second-guess the decision” to expand Medicaid, asserting: “We are where we are now, and we have to figure out how to go forward.” But repeal would presumably roll back the Medicaid expansion, too. Does Capito support that?

    Obamacare is of course deeply unpopular in red states, and embracing repeal, generally at least, may prove a winner here. Capito is favored. But with enrollment mounting, is there a point at which the question of what repeal would actually mean to all the people who have gained coverage becomes a hard one for Republicans to answer?

    The Dem candidate for Senate, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, has criticized Obamacare, arguing that premiums are too high and choice too limited. She has not said whether she would have voted for it, claiming she’d have brought “more West Virginia values” to the debate over passage.

  53. 53
    Chris says:



    It boggles my mind how uninterested or flat-out hostile the majority of this country is towards organized labor. The best thing you’ll hear is usually “well, they served their purpose, but now that children aren’t working twelve hour days in factories, they don’t matter anymore.” Far more common are canards like “they destroyed Detroit,” “they’re a corrupt special interest,” “they only look out for themselves” or whatever.

    Frankly, I don’t see how the economy stabilizes long-term until that trend reverses itself. There’s only so much the government can do, or should do.

  54. 54
    Roger Moore says:


    There’s only so much the government can do, or should do.

    The first thing the government should do is to repeal Taft-Hartley. Not going to happen, but it’s what should happen.

  55. 55
    sparrow says:

    @rikyrah: Obvious answer being, white voters probably skew republican, and Christy wants their support, while screw the browns, they vote Dem anyway? Surely it’s not that stupid?

  56. 56

    @Gin & Tonic: Today’s university students were born after independence, they are intelligent, literate, Internet-savvy and they have traveled, or know lots of people who have traveled, to Europe, and they want to be more like Europe, where, despite political differences, you can more often than not assume that political leaders are acting in the interests of their country as opposed to their Swiss accounts. So the divide is nearly as much generational as it is geographic/linguistic.

    LOL!! Still gullible I see!

  57. 57
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @elmo: “The Ukraine” is reminiscent of Russian/Soviet domination. “Ukraina” in Russian means “borderlands,” so a subordinate part of the motherland. The independent country of Ukraine prefers not to use the article in English.

    Here’s a fact sheet from the EU about the association agreement.

    Ukraine has been poorly governed – much corruption – since the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s been dependent on Russia for natural gas (although that is changing). The northwest-southeast split mentioned above is part of it. And sticking with Russia so far has not led to economic development. Many think that the EU is a better bet, but Russia insists on one or the other. Would be cool if Ukraine could associate with both.

  58. 58
    Roy G. says:

    “You know what the Ukraine is? It’s a sitting duck. A road apple, Newman. The Ukraine is weak. It’s feeble. I think it’s time to put the hurt on the Ukraine.”

  59. 59
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @PaulW: Internet providers, mobile operators, streaming video and audio sources all received notification today of what their obligations are in case a state of emergency is declared. In other words, we will be shutting you down tomorrow.

    This will continue to get worse.

    In the midst of the protest action in the capital (including at least three confirmed deaths of protesters) PM Azarov flew off to Davos today where, to their credit, the global elite gathered there disinvited him. I guess he has some free time for skiing now.

  60. 60
    catclub says:

    @rikyrah: “Another blow to the Iran sanctions bill”

    Good news.

  61. 61
    Jay C says:


    Excellent news! The longer this execrable bill is delayed (ideally killed outright, but nagonnahappen, unfortunately) the better its chances for ultimate rejection (either by parliamentary wastage, or Obama’s veto) – and the better the chances of a successful diplomatic agreement re Iranian nuclear supervision (said supervision, and what level of it Iran will tolerate, is, IMO, the only real issue remaining). And, as a useful bonus, perhaps a modest degree of diminution in the influence of the AIPAC/Neocon Axis Of Warmongering. Emphasis on “modest”…

  62. 62
    Belafon says:

    @Phil Perspective: How about something a bit more substantive than “Still gullible.” I’m curious what you disagree with and why?

  63. 63
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Phil Perspective: Huh? Do we know each other?

  64. 64
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    CIA, USAID, National Endowment for Democracy,etc same old right wing causing chaos in the vain attempt to gain some type of advantage.

  65. 65
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Agreed. AIPAC toadies need to be slapped down, hard.

  66. 66
    catclub says:

    @Roger Moore: I agree. I also suspect that if it had been agenda item #1 in 2009, there would not have been the votes for repeal in EITHER the House or the Senate.

  67. 67
    catclub says:

    @Jay C: Didn’t even DiFi come out against it? under the mantle of:
    “Read the fucking bill, it exports our foreign policy (Explicitly rather than the usual implicitly) to Israel and Netanyahu.”

    Good news.

  68. 68
    Roger Moore says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Many think that the EU is a better bet, but Russia insists on one or the other.

    The one who’s demanding one or the other is almost always the one in the wrong. Why shouldn’t Ukraine be able to be on friendly terms with its neighbors on both sides?

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Because the Russians are paranoids. Always have been, probably always will be.

    You can’t be friends with anyone else, as far as the Russians are concerned.

    The shame of Mongol domination is just about impossible to lose, so they overcompensate in the other direction.

  70. 70
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The clowns at Noisemax have a really stunning set of priorities:

    Titanic Hoax: DNA Debunks Woman’s Claim of Being Survivor

    Also, too, there’s this:

    O’Reilly to Brokaw: Networks Have No Power

    The assumption that this is of the slightest importance to anyone but navel-gazing media fucktards is breathtaking.

  71. 71

    The rioters in the street are the pro-Germans, who want to return to the good old days of WWII when they exterminated Jews and other riffraff under the protection of the German army. Look up “Swoboda Party,” “John McCain,” “OUN”, Stepan Bandera. That should get you started.

  72. 72
    ericblair says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    “The Ukraine” is reminiscent of Russian/Soviet domination. “Ukraina” in Russian means “borderlands,” so a subordinate part of the motherland. The independent country of Ukraine prefers not to use the article in English.

    Of course, the funny bit is that you can’t even have this argument in Ukrainian (or Russian), since the languages don’t have definite or indefinite articles. If someone is unilingual Ukranian/Russian, I think it would even be difficult to convey what this argument is about.

    Some cellular network stuff: in major crises there was a critical problem with network overloads leading to failures. As well, there were all too common interoperability problems between first responder radios, meaning cops and firemen and others would need cell networks to communicate and couldn’t. Currently, there’s a Wireless Priority Service implemented in US networks that gives specific devices override capability. So networks don’t have to be shut down in crises, but if you don’t have WPS you’re probably going to get locked out due to volume.

    The whole “dear subscriber” notification is AFAIK done for devices using specific cell towers, and obviously they’re noting the devices and who they are registered to. I’d turn my phone off if I’m around a mass protest in a foreign country.

  73. 73
    Bobby Thomson says:

    My dean was a scholar of Russian culture and said Ukrainians hate it when you say “the Ukraine” instead of just Ukraine. The former implies it is a region subject to Russian domination instead of a separate nation state. And that was back when they were supposedly fellow Soviet Socialist Republics.

    ETA. Yeah, I see 37 people have already said that.

  74. 74
    Shinobi says:

    @elmo: In Chicago we name them, so it has taken me about 5 years to figure out what the traffic reports are saying. Why not just call it 90/94 instead of “The KEnnedy.”

    Better question, WHY DO I LIVE HERE.

  75. 75
    ellie says:

    @kd bart: hahahahahahaha! I quote that one all the time.

  76. 76
    dr. luba says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: There is disagreement as to the origins of “Ukraina”. In Russian, okraina does refer to the border. But the name is U-kraine not O-kraine. In Ukrainian kraina means country, the u means among or within. So it is a way of saying our country, much like the Navajo call themselves the people.

  77. 77
    fuzz says:

    I heard a big problem for Ukraine is that their economy is very dependent on Russia, I know in the east 70% of their trade is with Russia. There’s a worry that the EU wouldn’t be able to make that up, and they’d also impose austerity measures on them. Plus part of the reason that the protestors want to join the EU is so they can emigrate to Europe much more easily, a lot of them are fighting for their right to leave.

  78. 78
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Bobby Thomson: As ericblair noted, monolingual Ukrainians wouldn’t “hate it” because they wouldn’t understand the issue.

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:


    Better question, WHY DO I LIVE HERE.

    It’s a lovely city in the summer — lots to do, a big lakefront park to walk/bike/hang out in, world-class museums. I grew up in the ‘burbs (North Shore) and miss those things a lot.

    But I only visit in the summer, because the winters are too fucking cold for me. I’m not even allowed to visit in winter anymore because I was so miserable in the cold that I made my poor spouse miserable, too.

  80. 80
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    That’s an oversimplification. After Pilsudski, in the wake of WWI, sold out his Ukrainian allies for Polish independence, the Russians came down on the Ukrainians pretty damned hard for daring to leave the empire (as the Russians would nearly 20 years later against the Poles). Along with that animosity towards Russia that predates the arrival of you-know-who is the animosity shown towards Jews, which existed in Central and Eastern Europe for centuries.

  81. 81
    Anoniminous says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    And there was a informing minor contretemps from 1941 to 1945.

    Russians are paranoid for historical reasons and because they are paranoid they tend to over-react which makes everybody around them paranoid. My (few) Polish friends aren’t too happy with Germany but they REALLY hate the Russians and REALLY like the fact there are buffer states between them and Russia. If Ukraine moves back to be dominated by Russia the Poles are going to go ballistic and I’d expect them to seek mutual defense treaties with Finland, Sweden, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and maybe even China, all of whom have no special reasons for trusting Russia either.

  82. 82
    Shinobi says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yeah, but I never do any of that stuff because it is all too expensive and/or too crowded. And it will take either an hour and a half to get there or an hour and a half to find a parking space.

    (I’m from St. Louis, where the majority of museums are free. And when you go to the park there are not 1.5 million people at the same park. )

  83. 83
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Anoniminous: Belarus??

  84. 84
    raven says:

    @Shinobi: The Ike! The Kingery!

  85. 85
    ericblair says:


    If Ukraine moves back to be dominated by Russia the Poles are going to go ballistic and I’d expect them to seek mutual defense treaties with Finland, Sweden, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and maybe even China, all of whom have no special reasons for trusting Russia either.

    Poland is a full member of NATO, so there’s that. So are the Baltic states. And technically Poland does border Russia (Kaliningrad), but can see how Ukraine being a total Russian catspaw would be a whole different matter.

  86. 86
    dr. luba says:


    2004: Yanukovych and his minions commit massive election fraud. Orange Revolution ensues.
    2005: New, monitored election is held, he loses.
    2010: Yushchenko proves to be corrupt president, acts as a spoiler in presidential election, Yanukovych ekes out victory. Many suspect there was fraud involved, but more subtle.
    2010-2013: Yanukovych proceeds to show Ukraine what real corruption is. Jails Tymoshenko, his opponent in 2010, jails other opposition leaders (Lutsenko). Corruption rises to unheard of levels; Yanukovych’s dentist son become millionaire businessman overnight. The economy suffers as the Donetsk Mafia, Yanukovych’s cronies, take over small businesses and steal billions from the government.
    Nov 2013: Goes back on promise to sign agreement with EU. Does this because of pressure from Putin, and because of EU insistence on transparency and anti-corruption action. Gets 15 billion dollar bail-out from Putin to cover budget deficit; this deficit is widely believed to be due to
    graft/theft by his people.
    Nov 2013: small protest by students against these actions is met with violence by police. Peacefully demonstrating students are badly beaten. This brings about a popular uprising–enough is enough. 100,000s of people pour into the streets. Yanukovych does not sign Eurasian Union agreement.
    December 2013: Peaceful protests continue, as demonstrators set up a tent city and occupy several government building in the center. Barricades go up. Food and medical care organized. Large crowds on weekends, smaller ones during the week.
    Attempt made to clear out protestors, ostensibly to put up large metal Xmas tree in the square. Tree is put up, and immediately taken over and becomes a huge antigovernment billboard.
    January 2013: crowds die down due to holidays. Reporter is beaten and nearly killed. Yanukovych decides to take out the protestors, brings in more Berkut (special forces). Many ministers quit, head of the army fired.
    Parliament passes very strong anti-protest measures, making any form of protest, or reporting about the government, illegal. Lutsenko, opposition leader, is badly beaten by thugs.
    This week: Attempts to break through the barricades fail. Fighting between two sides. Government sniper kills two protestors. Others taken, one found dead.

    What is going on is struggle for the future of Ukraine. Most Ukrainians, and an overwhelming percentage of the youth, want their future to be with a democratic, open Europe. They do not want to be part of a reconstituted USSR. They want to keep the freedoms they have grown up with.

  87. 87
    Hawes says:

    @srv: Ukraine may be a mess, in which case the EU in unlikely to allow it into the Euro. While Germany hasn’t treated Southern Europe well, neither have they covered themselves in glory. This seems more about Russia dominating it’s near abroad than Germany being a bully.

    It was Putin who shut off the heat in Ukraine a year ago.

  88. 88
    dr. luba says:

    This is a good assessment of what the Yanukovych regime is up to:


  89. 89
    Shinobi says:

    @raven: WHERE THE FUCK ARE THESE? I am still trying to figure them all out.

  90. 90
    Anoniminous says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    um … yeah. Them place.

  91. 91
    Anoniminous says:

    @dr. luba:

    Thank you.

  92. 92
    Cervantes says:

    Can someone help me understand what’s going on in the Ukraine?

    Russia is beckoning, the EU is beckoning. Yanukovych and others lean towards the former; the protestors towards the latter. Laws have been passed to stymie the protestors and their institutions. (To take a minor but indicative example: charities that accept funding from foreign sources now have to register as “foreign agents.”) These laws have further inflamed matters. As violence escalates, and regardless of who is escalating it, the protestors are not gaining any support; in fact, they are losing it slowly (there was majority support for the pro-EU side a few weeks ago, but not any more). Things are entering into a spiral now. Is Yanukovych smart enough to finesse his way out of trouble? We’ll see.

    Assuming you knew all that, what is it you do not yet understand?

  93. 93
    Roger Moore says:


    In Chicago we name them, so it has taken me about 5 years to figure out what the traffic reports are saying.

    In Southern California, every freeway has a name and a number, and people don’t use them in a way that’s obviously consistent to outsiders. So I-5 is frequently referred to as “The Golden State Freeway” or “The Santa Anna Freeway” rather than “The 5”, but I-210 is usually called “The 210” rather than “The Foothill Freeway”, and I-105 is almost never called “The Century Freeway”.

    I think there’s actually a method to the way names are used vs. numbers, but it requires some explaining. Basically, names are used preferentially when different parts of the same numbered freeway have different names (e.g. I-5 changes names when passing through downtown) or when a stretch of freeway changes numbers without changing names (e.g. The Hollywood Freeway includes stretches of US-101 and CA-170 that make a single logical route). If the number and name are the same for the whole stretch, the number is used.

  94. 94
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shinobi: And if you are doing it right in Chicago, you call 290 the Congress not the Eisenhower.

  95. 95
    Ash Can says:

    @Shinobi: Having a car helps. I love going to estate sales, and through this hobby I familiarized myself with all of the main highways and expressways in the entire Chicago area. Or here’s a suggestion for you: you could take up restaurants. Watch “Check, Please” on WTTW, read through the Chicago Mertomix restaurant listings for the city and suburbs, pick up a Chicago Magazine and read through the restaurant guide. Pick out a restaurant to try every week or two, look up the location on Mapquest, and head on out. You’ll be an expert on the area before you know it.

  96. 96
    gogol's wife says:


    Yeah, you can have this discussion, at least in Russian. In the old system, you said “na Ukraine” for “in Ukraine,” and now you say “v Ukraine.” It’s analogous to “the”/no “the.”

  97. 97
    MCA1 says:

    @Shinobi: 1. Because 90/94 stretches for a long span, covering multiple parts of a very large metropolitan area, so it’s a lot easier to refer to “the Kennedy” than it is “90/94 north of downtown until you get to Montrose” and “the Dan Ryan” than “90/94 south of downtown but north of 65th.” I don’t care what’s happening on that part of the road, so I can zone out when I hear Dan Ryan, Bishop Ford and Ike and wait until I hear what I need to hear.

    2. Because it’s miles better than living in St. Louis.

  98. 98

    Ta-Nehisi Coates is on it, with links and commentary:

  99. 99

    This comment, from a Ukrainian-something has lots of good information. But I think this remark sums it up: “Ukrainian independence isn’t on the table. Ukrainian independence from Russia is. And that’s valuable enough. That’s worth it, for a lot of people, to fight for.”

    The Russians have been horrible masters in Ukraine for two centuries. People want out. People are even willing to risk an IMF austerity budget to get out.

  100. 100
  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:


    Hello, L train and other trains! Chicago has a really good public transit system, especially compared to the crappy one we live with in LA. I used to take the train from Libertyville for weekends.

    Also, you need Spot Hero. My brother-in-law introduced us to it this summer and it was cheap ($20 for all-day parking) and all-around awesome. Though you should print your parking pass because their scanner doesn’t scan the iPhone well.

  102. 102
    dr. luba says:

    @The Raven on the Hill: Two centuries? If only. Since 1654.

    Horrible masters doesn’t begin to describe it.

  103. 103
  104. 104
    khead says:

    Note to WVU couch burners – leave the cell phone home next year.

  105. 105
    MikeBoyScout says:

    I don’t think there are any Russians
    And there ain’t no Yanks
    Just corporate criminals
    Playin’ with tanks

  106. 106
    ruviana says:

    @Trollhattan: Though we don’t think our freeways are countries.

  107. 107
    taras says:

    here’s something i don’t understand, why would they elect dr. ironfists to parliament? whenever the debating gets real, he just stands there with his teeth in his mouth. I’m sure his fellow co-politicians expected a little more legislating from him.

  108. 108
    Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again) says:


    It’s a result of “Russification”, a Russian policy that dates as far back as Peter the Great, if not further. It works like this: Absorb a territory with its own national identity, move ethnic Russians into the territory and move a lot of the natives to other places in the empire- spread ’em around so that they have a hard time banding together in an effective revolt.

    The idea didn’t originate in Russia, though. They seem to have picked it up from the (Byzantine) Romans, as did the Ottomans.

  109. 109
    Paul in KY says:

    @KG: The Orange County that I thought San Diego was in.

  110. 110
    Paul in KY says:

    @Shinobi: You could get 1.5 million people in Forest Park :-)

  111. 111
    Paul in KY says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Thing that gets me about Chicago is there are 8 different streets with name ‘Wacker’ in them.

  112. 112
    Cervantes says:


    here’s something i don’t understand, why would they elect dr. ironfists to parliament? whenever the debating gets real, he just stands there with his teeth in his mouth. I’m sure his fellow co-politicians expected a little more legislating from him.

    Why did voters elect Klitschko, you ask? Why did Californians elect Schwarzenegger? What were the alternatives?

    Yes, there are people who make fun of Klitschko’s intellect, but he advocates coöperation with the EU and with NATO — and as you know, there is support for these positions. He campaigns for civil rights (“The people are not defending political interests. They are defending the idea of living in a civilised country.”) He also runs against corruption — not exactly courageous but not exactly unpopular, either.

    Yes, he does come from a Russian-speaking family — but this has not seemed to be an issue for him.

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