Beware: If anybody named Boris sucks up to you while slurping Borscht and vodka, he's a Russian spy

Man, did we really think that the Cold War had melted?

Come on now. Russians may no longer be Soviets but they sure as hell aren’t Quakers either.

These folks grew up hating Americans and they’re still hissed off at us because we beat them to the moon even though they were the leaders in the clubhouse after Sputnik was the first in space and even orbited past the Reading Airport.

Where is Bond, James Bond, when we need him? Put aside that blonde, Bond, and come rescue us!

Joe McCarthy must be seeing red and rolling over in his grave

Russia today is denying allegations that it has been running a long-term spy ring in the U.S., and says the claims will damage the newly “reset” relations between Moscow and Washington.

Russian officials called the arrest of eleven suspects “groundless” and “unseemly,” and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hinted at a conspiracy theory that someone in the U.S. government was attempting to undermine U.S.-Russia relations.

Yeah, like we buy their denials. What are they going to do? Confess without us even waterboarding them?

After all, Vladimir Putin grew up in the KGB, not with the Boy Scouts. His summer camp was the Gulag.

And we grew up with Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale and Fearless Leader looking into our living rooms through our television screens.

Not to scare you, but there may be more Russian spies in our midst. One of the Cold War’s most famous defectors says Russia may have as many as 50 deep-cover couples spying inside the United States.

Not to get paranoid or anything, but if any of your friends or neighbors seem to have an affinity for Borscht soup, caviar and Russian vodka, I’d wouldn’t spill any state secrets to them at the next cocktail party.

The 11 who were busted are accused of having attempted to befriend American officials and scientists while maintaining civilian jobs and living as couples so as not to raise suspicion.

Some had lived in America since the early 1990s; they shared information by posting innocent-looking photos — with hidden text — online, writing letters in invisible ink, and “brush pasts” — when agents swap identical luggage as the pass each other.

You know, all the cool spy stuff.

The defendants are not charged with trying directly to steal U.S. government secrets themselves. Rather, their job was to act as talent spotters — identifying and cultivating government and political insiders who then could be turned into secret Russian government informers by other intelligence operatives.

I wonder if any municipal officials in Berks County were targeted. Then again, evidently the Russians were scoping out the truly talented so maybe not.

Considering how local, state and federal government in the U.S. hardly runs with the precision of a Swiss watch, the Russians may have developed acute eye strain looking for somebody worth turning into a traitor.

Take cover, America! The Supremes extend gun rights

If you’re packing, you gotta be sporting an aurora borealis of a smile brighter than a white pearl handled gun today.
The folks at the NRA are flashing smiles bigger than Oprah’s backside.
Never mind that a sense of dread among the rest of the masses is rising like summer heat off two-lane blacktop.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Constitution’s “right to keep and bear arms” applies nationwide as a restraint on the ability of the federal, state and local governments to substantially limit its reach.
Bad news for Reading, the new Dodge City where hot lead and hot collars keep the population caged in constant fear and friction.
By a 5-4 vote split along familiar ideological lines, the Court extended its landmark 2008 ruling that individual Americans have a constitutional right to own guns to all the cities and states for the first time.
In so doing, the Supremes — excuse the verbiage — shot down a 28-year-old handgun ban in the Chicago area.
Are you listening Mayor Tom McMahon? Reading’s mayor long has been an advocate of handgun restrictions because in this town, bad guys usually shoot first and refuse to answer questions later.
Since drug trafficking and the resultant gunplay became so powerful in Reading it burst and became a need years ago, this new ruling definitely won’t have itchy trigger fingers disappearing like morning dew.
Oh, that’s right. Guns don’t kill people, people do.
Tell that to the bodies stacked like cordwood in the morgue. You know it would only fall on deaf, oops, dead ears.

With banks keeping derivatives units and the Volcker Rules softened like butter in the hot sun, the financial reform bill is as hollow as a carved pumpkin after marathon congressional session

The gibbering specter of reforming the nation’s financial system is a cruel tease.
Even under today’s sizzling sun, you can see eerie lights flickering through the encircling gloom. Along with brows knit in disgust and frowns frozen in place.
Except on Wall Street. The folks there are giddier than schoolgirls. Even if they are austere bankers.
After nearly 20 hours over two days filled with backroom dealing, House and Senate negotiators — dwarfs no bigger than thumbnails — struck a deal at 5:39 this morning that guts like a deer what could have been a sweeping overhaul of rules overseeing Wall Street.
If you’re scoring at home, chalk up a big W for Wall Street, a big L for Main Street.
All that congressional brokering resulted in a sweetheart deal for Wall Street.
Many of the measures that could have fundamentally reshaped how Wall Street conducts business were either deleted, weakened like light beer or rendered as irrelevant as sculling.
The passage once again reflected the oceanic gulf between the two parties. Democrats unanimously supported passage; Republicans unanimously voted against it.
The bottom line is that the bill doesn’t accomplish its central objective: Ending the perception that some financial firms are too big to fail.
The two most high-profile provisions were the last items to be considered and both were smacked down like surfers in an oily riptide.
One would have forced banks to stop trading financial instruments with their own capital and give up their stakes in hedge funds and private equity funds, named after its original proponent, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.
The other would have compelled banks to raise tens of billions of dollars because they’d have to spin off their derivatives-dealing operations into separately capitalized affiliates within the bank holding company, pushed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln.
As currently practiced both activities are highly lucrative, annually generating billions for the nation’s megabanks.
Of course, even though the teeth in the bill have been sawed off to the gum line, President Obama declared victory.
Yeah, right. On this matter, the president doesn’t even have a rag of credibility to his game.
He said the deal included 90 percent of what he had proposed.
No matter that the crucial 10 percent was left on the table, growing cold like true hope for true financial reform.
Keep your dollar bills stuffed under your mattresses.

The Wimbledon mega-marathon that just wouldn't end (remind anyone of the Afghan war?), the tennis match for the ages and the sages, has at long last miraculously concluded. Somebody wake up the queen!

With McChrystal out and Petraeus in, the general consensus is the switch in commanders will lengthen the war in Afghanistan because Petraeus will want more troops and more time.

Now that I’ve given you that cheery news update that undoubtedly will position more peaceniks on the Penn Street Bridge at Friday’s PM drive time, the time has come for the ol’ Zekester to time out for now on the Afghan Generalgate that led to President (I Am Not A Wimp) Obama giving McChrystal the gate.
Speaking of time, I have more timely matters to explore.
Granted, I realize that with the world boiling over in various directions from political shenanigans, global transgressions and oil spills galactic in devastation, the world of sports likely will not determine the fate of mankind.
But sports sure can be more dramatic than Shakespeare and have more fireworks than a debate on illegal immigration.
Besides, I’m just a sucker for a good story to pontificate upon and I can’t resist weighing in on that astonishingly preposterous marathon tennis match at Wimbledon.
John Isner won the longest tennis match in history today, taking the fifth set against Nicolas Mahut by the absurd score of 70-68. That’s a college basketball score, not a tennis score.
The epic first-round match lasted longer than a flight from Philadelphia to Honolulu. It lasted 11 hours and 5 minutes over three days before Isner closed out the victory with a backhand winner, then collapsed to his back as he tossed his racket in jubilation and relief.
Isner’s limbs and lungs must be bionic because he then summoned one last injection of energy and sprung to his feet to applaud along with the crowd.
If you’re keeping score, Isner prevailed 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68. Both players were winners in courage and endurance. Both players were losers when it came to blisters and missing skin.
Mahut now will soak in a tub for three weeks while what’s rest of Isner faces a second-round match while chained to the terminals of exhaustion.

The match was so freaking long it was suspended because of darkness two nights in a row!
Play resumed today at 59-all and continued for more than an hour before Isner returned both of them from the world of infinity.
How Isner and Mahut even managed to get out of bed this morning has totally befuddled the finest doctors in England.
Another amazing aspect of the match is Isner finished with a whopping 112 aces while Mahut had 103. Incredibly there were only three service breaks in the match — with the last coming on the final point.
By the way, if you already thought Queen Elizabeth II was out to lunch, you will be utterly convinced that the ancient relic with a crown and a purse is a total twit after hearing that she visited the All England Club today for the first time since 1977 and didn’t even stick around to see the resumption of the historic Isner-Mahut match.
Then again, history has been galloping past the queen for sometime. I guess it was past her tea time.

Eight is more than enough for Eliot Spitzer and Kathleen Parker on comatose CNN

Hosting a cable news show in the 8 p.m. slot is more dangerous than being a live target practice dummy for a firing squad.

Going head to head with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and HLN’s Nancy Grace — all opinionated loud mouths with even louder egos — is really being in the line of fire.

Guess what?

Disgraced and defrocked former Democratic New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and conservative Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker either don’t care or they wear bulletproof vests.

They’re replacing the beautiful but boring Campbell Brown on CNN weeknights at 8.

Then again, what options do the pair have?

Spitzer has been trying to rehab his image by plunging into the media fishbowl. With his socks on.

Parker has to know that being in the print media these days is comparable to being in the covered wagon-building business when Henry Ford drove onto the scene.

Frankly, I think Spitzer should have been paired with busty, bottle-blond bombshell Kristin Davis, his former Manhattan madam.

Ratings, after all, are the name of the game and CNN, like Larry King, has been on life support for years.

Obama puts McChrystal on his own, ahem, like a rolling stone

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger. And you don’t throw the president under an Abrams tank if you’re one of his commanding generals.
So hardly a surprise that President Obama stuck a fondue fork in General Stanley McChrystal today after their come-to-Jesus meeting about the insubordinate general’s Rolling Stone interview.
Obama is replacing McChrystal as top Afghan commander with General David Petraeus, who apparently will be doing double duty running the war theaters in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The poor Petraeus will be stretched thinner than a runway model, which likely will ramp up his fainting spells.

No wonder the war drags on Afghanistan with wimps in the White House and a wimpy general

General Stanley McChrystal has a thankless job. He’s the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, the war that’s sneaking up on the Hundred Years War for longevity.
Granted, he may not have it for long.
You see, McChrystal has pulled a General MacArthur on Barack Obama’s Harry Truman.
Of course, MacArthur would have rather have shared Chop Suey and Sake with a North Korean than talk to a liberal mag like Rolling Stone.
But you gotta love McChrystal’s chutzpah in telling Rolling Stone that he had seized control of the war “by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House.”
I guess that sort of flattened his bosses like a tortilla.
Needless to say, Obama now finds his general to be about as huggy as an ulcerous porcupine.
Reportedly the commander-in-chief is furious and has summoned his insubordinate general to Washington to explain the derogatory comments that included McChrystal’s aides mocking Joe Biden and Richard Holbrooke, the special U.S. representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Don’t you just love it when top military brass act like wiseass punks?
Apparently McChrystal is not as tough as an Afghanistan winter because he’s already apologized. I doubt if Obama would have court-martialed or shot him, but McChrystal now’s the wimp.
Man, I’m sure all this is scaring the hell out of the terrorists in Afghanistan.
Who’s gonna lead the U.S. troops there now? Pee wee Herman? Don’t ask, don’t tell.

Rahm Emanuel is (a) quitting; (b) not quitting; (c) tweet target of Sarah Palin's; (d) all of the above

Rahm Emanuel is tougher than trying to crack walnuts with chopsticks. Where other folks have skin, this guy has cactus. Prickly is a good mood for him. He is a pragmatic git-r-done guy, but dresses better than Larry the Cable Guy.

Emanuel is the White House Chief of Staff because he brooks no nonsense and has a cordial working relationship with President Obama. But apparently Emanuel is locking horns with Obama’s inner circle, which evidently allows its idealism to get in the way of pushing through legislation.

There have been numerous online reports that Emanuel is going to quit within six to eight months. The London Telegraph, of all publications, has taken the lead in this report. An ocean away and they’re on the story.

Well, maybe not. The White House this morning refuted reports that Emanuel is quitting. A senior White House official dismissed such reports as laughable.

Emanuel also is getting heat from Sarah Palin, who tweeted that he was a liar Sunday after Emanuel said on ABC’s This Week that Rep. Joe Barton’s apology to BP last week exposed the political philosophy of the Republican Party.

Perhaps Emanuel can swap jobs with Phillies manager Charlie Manual. Neither one seems to have a plum position at the moment. And wouldn’t Charlie be an absolute treat in the White House?

Getting a kick out of the wide world of sports

Soccer, besides being a cure for insomnia, can be hands-down surreal even if they can’t use their hands.
For instance, as the World Cup yawns its way around the globe, the United States is off to a 0-0-2 start.
And the Americans are fit to be tied.
Today the Americans were hosed out of a historic victory over some country named Slovenia (used to be a bacteria or something) when some Malian (where?) ref incorrectly disallowed an 86th-minute goal.
Of course, perhaps that was fitting justice after the U.S. opened with a gift tie against England when English goalie Robert Green muffed an easy shot. Now the Brits are claiming Green may have been a basket case over his split with a young lingerie model.
And what’s what with keepers and their hearts? Are they whacked because they, unlike their soccer brethren, can use their hands?
I’m told Spain’s shocking loss to Switzerland transpired because a drop-dead-gorgeous TV sideline reporter and girlfriend of Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas distracted him into allowing the game’s only goal.

And back to a real sport back here in the States, the Lakers beat the Celtics in the deciding Game 7 of the NBA Finals last night … thanks to the heroics of notorious bad boy Ron Artest.
After the game, Artest thanked “everybody in my hood” and his psychiatrist.
Only in America.