BOULDER, Colorado -- We have been slow to post things the past couple of weeks due to vacations and general malaise, so I have tried to include the most fascinating selections of news from the past three weeks. For this round we have more outrageous news from Russia involving political assassinations, economic nationalism, and the dumb Olympics, as well as the story of a nuclear dumping ground in my own back yard.
Newsru.com: Kill Ramzan Kadyrov. Okay, that's not what the story is about, it's just my own personal appeal to the world. The Chechen president has been sending assassins all over the world to kill his political opponents, most recently militia commander Sulim Yamadayev in Dubai. I guess he fancies himself as a regular Chechen Dick Cheney.
The Moscow Times: Screw Moody's. The speaker of Russia's parliament, Boris Gryzlov, says he doesn't trust foreign rating agencies. Now, the credit raters really shit the bed on the mortgage-backed securities fiasco, and maybe they shouldn't be trusted, but I don't need an idiot like Gryzlov to tell me that.
New York Times: Salzburg 2014. Some of Russia's biggest political attention whores have thrown their hats into the ring for the upcoming mayoral elections in Sochi, the presumptive site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Some candidates have said they want to move the games to other sites in Russia that are more suitable; regardless of who wins, there's still a good chance that the IOC will decide to hold the Olympics elsewhere, because Sochi - and Russia - is such a basketcase.
High Country News: Don't eat the dirt, kids. Rocky Flats was one of the country's largest nuclear weapons manufacturing plants; now it's a wildlife refuge. The story of the contamination and clean up of the site does not inspire confidence.
Detroit News: Pets of Meat III. Pulitzer Prize-winning a-hole Charlie LeDuff "reports" on an urban raccoon hunter, and he serves up healthy portions of patronizing, patrician, and mildly racist commentary to go with the barbecued coon meat. And as Jossip reports, the whole story is totally plagiarized from a suspiciously similar story he wrote ten years ago about another raccoon hunter on Long Island.
Denver Post: Whole Foods is my religion. The co-conspirator in the Oklahoma City bombing Terry Nichols is dissatisfied with his selection of menu items in the country's highest-security prison in Florence, Colorado. I don't think some fresh vegetables is too much to ask for when you spend 23 hours a day in a cell.
Washington Post: Barack Obama is making America so unsafe. In perhaps the least surprising story of the year, the Post reports that torturing people probably didn't yield any worthwhile intelligence and foiled no terrorist plots.
This American Life: Before it's too late. The story of Bernie Epton, the Republican nominee in the 1983 Chicago mayoral race who lost to the city's first black mayor, Harold Washington, sheds some light on the ugly turn Sen. John McCain's campaign took this past fall (act four in the program).
BBC Four: The world's greatest time-waster. This documentary tells the fascinating story of Tetris, a game born on a whim in a Soviet computing center and transformed into one of the greatest video games ever created.