Climate change, with its polar vortexes and March snowstorms delayed the start of spring here in Washington DC until about five days ago. Consequently, now that it’s suddenly around eighty degrees and sunny, and very well watered after weeks of thoroughly soaking, if bone chilling rain, everything is happening at once. Instead of the usual stately procession of snow stars, crocuses, forsythia, daffodils, asters, tulips, violets and so forth, we’re getting what looks for all the world like a Smithsonian diorama of Mid-Atlantic vernal blooms, with flowering redbud, plum, tulip poplar and about ten million cherry trees rubbing elbows with each other in a mad celebration of life renewed, while robins, cardinals, jays, doves, juncos, titmice, nuthatches, warblers and mockingbirds [...]

 

With the Ukrainian Crisis in its second week, the Dalai Lama visiting Washington amid protests both diplomatic as well as on the streets, and the Conservative Political Action Conference in full swing, those would have been quite sufficient to keep Gretchen and me working twelve and fourteen hour days all week, including up until ten at night Saturday.  But on top of all that, as luck and United States foreign policy would have it, Secretary of State John Kerry chose this week to send each and every US ambassador explicit instructions to make climate change their top priority, and quote, “…promote concerted action at posts and in host countries to address this problem.”  Sheesh!  As if there weren’t enough people [...]

 

It’s no wonder Gretchen and I had to work this weekend.  With the situation in Ukraine quickly degenerating into a vast porcine fornication that will surely overshadow even Syria’s current world-class performance, folks here in DC are defecating bricks from Langley to the Pentagon to the White House to Foggy Bottom, and it appears my advice has never been more sought after or valuable than now.  We came in early to make sure everybody got their consultation while there was still time for them to take meaningful and effective action, but by noon, the Federation Council had asked Putin to recall the Russian ambassador to the United States and invade Ukraine immediately.  After that, all hell broke loose, every line [...]

 

Mike Huckabee started bugging Gretchen for a telephone consultation with me starting Thursday afternoon, but it wasn’t until after six o’clock on Friday night that my schedule actually allowed for it.  While every American who votes has heard of Mike Huckabee, international readers of this Web log may be unfamiliar with him, so for their benefit I will explain that he is conservative Republican politician who did quite well in his party primaries during the 2008 presidential election cycle here in the United States, but eventually lost the Republican presidential nomination race to John McCain and the vice-presidential selection process to Sarah Palin.  He is from Arkansas, a state in the southern US, where he once served as its governor from [...]

 

Despite the national holiday here in the United States being celebrated next Monday, in fact Wednesday January 15 was the actual birthday of the Right Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Junior, Ph.D.  And it was on the good Doctor’s birthday that I received a call from Pat McCrory, the Republican governor of North Carolina.   Tom: Good morning, Governor. McCrory: Hello, is this Tom Collins? Tom: It is, Governor. McCrory: Uh, okay, then, Mr. Collins, I, uh, have been given to understand that you, um, offer initial consultations, ah, free of charge? Tom: That’s correct, Governor. McCrory: Oh, that’s good, because frankly, your hourly rates are… unbelievable, I guess is the word I’m looking for here.  People actually pay that kind [...]

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