U.S. ground troops going to Poland

Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak, right

Poland and the United States will announce next week the deployment of U.S. ground forces to Poland as part of an expansion of NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe in response to events in Ukraine. That was the word from Poland’s defense minister, Tomasz Siemoniak, who visited The Post Friday after meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon on Thursday.

Siemoniak said the decision has been made on a political level and that military planners are working out details. There will also be intensified cooperation in air defense, special forces, cyberdefense and other areas. Poland will play a leading regional role, “under U.S. patronage,” he said.’ (Washington Post)

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This Cute Little Guy Desperately Wants To Poison You

‘…It’s one of the few venomous mammals on Earth, and perhaps the only one that injects venom exactly the way a snake does.

The particular solenodon pictured above is a Hispaniolan solenodon, found in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Its cousin, the Cuban solenodon, was thought to be extinct up to about two years ago, when it was rediscovered after some reported sitings an a ten year search. That might be good news for conservationists, who are thrilled that an animal that survived the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs hasn’t been killed off by cats and logging. Other people might not be so pleased.

The solenodon looks like a big shrew, and is in the same order as shrews, though not the same family. Like shrews, it has venom. Unlike shrew venom, which doesn’t kill its prey, solenodon venom can kill small animals within a few hours….’ (io9).

Delightful Poems About Dogs from E.B. White

E. B. White on Dogs is an absolute treat in its entirety — sometimes soulful, sometimes funny, always unmistakably Whitean in its warm irreverence and sensitive satire. Complement it with Mary Oliver’s magnificent Dogs Songs and John Updike’s harrowing poem on the loss of his dog, then lift your spirits with The Big New Yorker Book of Dogs and Jane Goodall’s charming children’s book about the healing power of pet love.’

DOG AROUND THE BLOCK

Dog around the block, sniff,
Hydrant sniffing, corner, grating,
Sniffing, always, starting forward,
Backward, dragging, sniffing backward,
Leash at taut, leash at dangle,
Leash in people’s feet entangle—
Sniffing dog, apprised of smellings,
Love of life, and fronts of dwellings,
Meeting enemies,
Loving old acquaintance, sniff,
Sniffing hydrant for reminders,
Leg against the wall, raise,
Leaving grating, corner greeting,
Chance for meeting, sniff, meeting,
Meeting, telling, news of smelling,
Nose to tail, tail to nose,
Rigid, careful, pose,
Liking, partly liking, hating,
Then another hydrant, grating,
Leash at taut, leash at dangle,
Tangle, sniff, untangle,
Dog around the block, sniff.

(Brain Pickings).

GOP’s super-secret actual road map for winning more races (Hint: It’s not the one released to the public)

‘…[R]ather than adapting their policy positions to a changing nation, Republicans have simply adopted cynical tactics that work to minimize the electoral power of these demographic groups at every turn. If the GOP can’t convince minorities and young people to vote against their own interests, perhaps they can prevent the poor, the young, and minorities from voting in the first place. After all, as conservative columnists have noted with some glee, an election using old antebellum rules, where only white men could vote, would have led to a landslide for Mitt Romney! (And white Christians are the only “real Americans,” so this exit-polling proves that Romney deserved to win or something.)’ (Salon.com).

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5 ways American policies make us lonely, anxious and antisocial

‘With mountains of knowledge, why aren’t we better at setting up our society in a way that helps us to prosper? Isn’t that the point of having a society in the first place? Unfortunately, ours is increasingly designed by politicians indebted to the 1 percent for the express purpose of enhancing and maintaining the power of the very top rung. The rest of us are left to cope with a rocky, competitive life path that leaves us isolated and exhausted. Inequality is stunting our growth as human beings.

We are doing an especially poor job at setting the conditions for our development as social beings. Recent research in Scientific American shows that today’s college students are less empathetic than generations past.  We are less involved in our communities and less fulfilled in our jobs, our families, and our relationships. As the great psychologists have taught us, it is accomplishment in these areas that give us the feeling of significance as human beings. Yet at each stage of life development, we have adopted policies, practices, and habits of mind that thwart us and cultivate anxiety, loneliness and antisocial behavior.’ (Salon.com).

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7 horrific crimes that aren’t crimes any more for America’s most powerful

‘…[T]he members of the national security state, unlike the rest of us, exist in what might be called “post-legal” America.  They know that, no matter how heinous the crime, they will not be brought to justice for it.  The list of potentially serious criminal acts for which no one has had to take responsibility in a court of law is long, and never tabulated in one place.  Consider this, then, an initial run-down on seven of the most obvious crimes and misdemeanors of this era for which no one has been held accountable:

  • Kidnapping…
  • Torture…
  • The destruction of evidence of a crime…
  • The planning of an extralegal prison system…
  • The killing of detainees in that extralegal system…
  • Assassination…
  • Perjury before Congress…

Mind you, the above seven categories don’t even take into account the sort of warrantless surveillance of Americans that should have put someone in a court of law, or the ways in which various warrior corporations overbilled or cheated the government in its war zones, or the ways private contractors “ran wild” in those same zones.  Even relatively low-level crimes by minor figures in the national security state have normally not been criminalized.  Take, for example, the private surveillance of and cyberstalking of “love interests,” or “LOVEINT,” by NSA employees using government surveillance systems.  (Salon.com).

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