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Today’s fun video: What would Reagan do about Ukraine shootdown?


The Daily Show's Jon Stewart skewers talking head news types who compare Barack Obama to Ronald Reagan's response to the Soviet shoot-down of a jetliner without checking the facts. 

So can you find Ukraine on the map?

A recent survey that shows most Americans can't find Ukraine on the map has been grist for the political pundit mill, as well as a funny bit from Stephen Colbert.

But given Americans' general lack of geographic knowledge, was anyone surprised? After all, we've been told for years that Johnny can't read, can't write, can't name any president that isn't on currency, doesn't know who won World War II, and a whole long list of other horribles. So Johnny grows up and we expect him to find Ukraine on a blank map? Not likely.

But forget Johnny. Can you find Ukraine on a map? 

Open the World Map One document, and point to it on your screen. Feel free to blow it up as much as you like, if that will help.

 Then open the World Map Two document, which has Ukraine in red, and see how close you came.


Darth Vader runs for President of Ukraine

Out of all the news coming out the the Ukraine, I bet this wasn't a story you were expecting. The Guardian is reporting that the Ukrainian Internet party (UIP) has put forth a new candidate for President.

Darth "I am your father" Vader, Sith Lord.

So cool.



Reporters specialize in Ukraine coverage

  As the world follows the daily developments in Ukraine and Crimea, scores of international journalists continue to track the breaking news. The Poynter Institute, a respected journalism think tank and training hub, put together a list of reporters you can follow via Twitter. In many instances, the reporters are providing links to their full stories via their Tweets. Most of the reporters listed aren't exactly household names, but they work for such news organizations as the BBC, ABC, Associated Press, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and the Globe and Mail in Toronto.

Good-bye Mrs. Makhanova

In yesterday's Spokesman-Review, my favorite obituary was that of Yekaterina Sergeyevna Makhanova, an 85-year-old immigrant from the former Soviet Union. She was born in the Ukraine and moved, in 1996, to Deer Park and then Newman Lake "be with her children here in America."

She was mother to 14 children, 84 grandchildren and 55 great-granchildren and "her family tree consists of 213 people of which 210 are living."

We rarely see obituaries in our classified obits from residents of the former Soviet Union even though the  Inland Northwest area is home to immigrants from there, more than 20,000.

But, like my Italian immigrant relatives who came to Spokane in the early 20th century, that population doesn't surface often in the mainstream press. So we don't have many of the details of their lives, such as all the living Mrs. Makhanova did in her 85 years, 15 of them in the Inland Northwest.

Feds: Affair was Steele’s murder motive

A North Idaho lawyer accused of hiring a hit man to kill his wife was involved with another woman who received a letter from him after his arrest, federal prosecutors allege.

 Edgar J. Steele, 65, wanted his wife murdered because he “had been establishing a relationship with a young woman who lives outside of the United States,” according to documents filed this week in U.S. District Court in Coeur d’Alene.

Ukrainian officials interviewed the woman and say she provided them with a letter she received from Steele after his arrest last June.

Prosecutors say they plan to show jurors other letters and evidence outlining steps Steele took to meet the woman.  The new information regarding Steele’s alleged motive in the murder-for-hire plot was included in documents filed by prosecutors seeking to keep Steele in custody without bail pending his trial next month.

Read the rest of my story here.

APhoto Of The Day — 7.15.10

Activists of a local women’s rights group wash themselves in a city fountain as they protest against regular summer switch off of publicly supplied domestic hot water in the city, in downtown Kiev, Ukraine, earlier today. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. (tie) Plenty of stiffness from men Ukrainian their necks to follow all the summer sirens and find that special chick in Kiev — Kevin Taylor; and: After their boyfriends said they’d taken a bath in the stock market, their blonde companions decided to come downtown and join them — JohnA.
  • 2. Swede Mother of God! I hate to see you Russian, but I love to watch you Finnish! — Formerly Sandpoint.
  • 3. (tie) Protesters in hot water as Ukrainian men demand domestic hot water be turned off year round — Bayview Bob; and: Wet T-Shirt Contest, Ukraine-style! — Eddie Torreal.

APhoto Of The Day — 4.27.10

Ukrainian opposition and pro-presidential lawmakers fight during ratification of the Black Sea Fleet deal with Russia, in parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday. Ukraine’s parliament has voted to extend Russia’s lease of a Crimean naval port for the Black Sea Fleet in a chaotic session during which eggs and smoke bombs were thrown. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Jim Brannon gains 6 votes in court challenge, loses 4 teeth at first city council meeting. “Her Sandiness throws a mean left,” he says — Kevin Taylor.
  • 2. At the weekly SR Editorial meeting, the other editors became enraged and tackled DFO when they found out he ate the last donut — CoeurGenX.
  • 3. Man, lower right: “Ural mountin’ quite a head of steam, you know. Just Kiev it up and I will sock Ukrainium” — JohnA.
  • HM: Phaedrus & Gary D. Rhodes