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Elliot: Wintering on (& on)

BY BEAU ELLIOT | MARCH 03, 2015 5:00 AM

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Ah, winter. As the old joke goes, it’s a winter wonderland — you look outside at winter and wonder what in tarnation (to use polite words) you’re doing here.

But if you want a real winter, you could go to Boston, where the Celtics play. Well, truth be told, they don’t play very much, but they do show up in uniform, which is something like an act of bravery (or foolishness). Real winter is watching the Celtics play curling on the hardwood.

True winter is elsewhere, Rimbaud once wrote (or words to that effect; I often get tangled up translating French). True winter seems to happen in Russia, for instance, and we’re not talking Gorky Park here.

Or actually, maybe we are. 

Boris Nemtsov, a former Russian government official and a quite outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was gunned down on the Great Moskvoretsky Bridge in Moscow last week.

The assassination sparked outrage, a huge march in Moscow (tens and tens of thousands), and several metric tons of suspicion directed at the Kremlin and Putin.

(And, of course, conspiracy theories. Such as, the CIA engineered the killing of Nemtsov in order to try to bring down Putin’s government. I’m not sure there’s a grassy knoll big enough to handle that particular conspiracy.)

Meanwhile, back in Moscow, it turns out that the particular area of Moscow in which the slaying took place has heavy video surveillance, according to NPR. Well, that’s not surprising. But for unknown reasons, the bridge cameras where Nemtsov was killed were not turned on. 

Oh.

But no worries. Putin himself has promised he will get to the bottom of this.

Doesn’t that just make you feel all warm and fuzzy? Putin himself will find out who did what. I don’t know about you, but it warms the cockles of my heart when a former KGB guy says he’ll get to the bottom of something. Whatever its faults, the KGB was good at getting to the bottom.

We do have winter here, just not so classic and haunting as a Russian winter. Of course we have winter; my knee reminds me of this each time I shovel snow. My knee is good at that sort of thing; it reminds me when it’s going to rain, it reminds me when Republicans are coming to town.

And the Republicans are coming to town. Well, they’re heading to Des Moines, actually, but then, Des Moines is kind of an exburb of Iowa City.

Not that Republicans equal winter, exactly, because that would imply they know something about climate change. But it’s interesting to look at what Republicans do believe.

Public Policy Polling last week ( yes, it’s just a poll) reported that among GOP primary voters, 57 percent want a measure “establishing Christianity as the national religion.”

Well, a small sticking point here: That’s unconstitutional. It’s a bit strange that the people who contend that President Obama is acting unconstitutionally desire an unconstitutional measure themselves.

In other items, 66 percent of those voters do not believe in climate change, and 49 percent do not believe in evolution. No report on how many don’t believe in the theory of gravity.

Meanwhile, winter. Don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead when you go to bed Saturday night (or early Sunday); it makes spring come quicker.


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