2. Chris Blattman asked a question: “Someone please explain to me why I should accept that the annexation of Crimea is a terrible thing.” And he got responses (from Steve Saideman, Dan Drezner, and others).
3. At first I thought this was an April Fool’s joke: the Obama administration is seriously considering a plan to release Jonathan Pollard as a means to advance stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. I agree with Stephen Bainbridge: Jonathan Pollard is a traitor who should rot in jail. See also Josh Marshall’s take on this proposal.
4. Last Saturday, Chris Christie apologized to Sheldon Adelson for using the term “occupied territories” to refer to…the territory that Israel has been occupying in the West Bank since 1967. (H/T: Mark Kleiman.)
A history professor once told me that there were three common ways to refer to the northeastern portion of the island of Ireland that is not part of the Republic of Ireland. To call that region “Ulster” was to identify oneself with the unionist or loyalist camp; to use the term “the northern counties” was to proclaim unambiguous republican sympathies; and the term “Northern Ireland” fell somewhere between the other two designations. (This coordination of terms and political sympathies may be less true today than it was 40 years ago — I really don’t know.)
Likewise, it seems that, today, there are three terms one might use to refer to the formerly Jordanian land west of the Jordan River. “The occupied territories” appears to carry connotations of pro-Palestinian bias (at least to some hearers); while “Judea-Samaria” is apparently a term preferred by portions of the Israeli right. “West Bank” is probably a fairly neutral and reasonably safe designation (for now).
None of which makes the latest Christie brouhaha any less groan-worthy (or “pathetic,” in Kleiman’s estimation).
5. Alaska Board of Game to hunters: no, you may not use drones to spot and track moose. Among other things, it’s not sporting. You have to give the animal some chance — and other hunters too, according to the Alaska Wildlife Troopers. (Davey Crockett never used a drone to track game…)
6. Iraq has purchased 10 new trains for the Baghdad-Basra line. The new trains were built in China.
7. Joni Ernst, a Republican Senate candidate in Iowa, has a truly interesting line to begin her most recent campaign commercial.
Image Credits: (1) Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan. Photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Moeller, August 2009. Source: Wikimedia Commons. (2) Moose, Superior National Forest, Minnesota. Photo courtesy USDA Forest Service via Wikimedia Commons.