Will Tymoshenko concede?

With more than 99 percent of the vote counted, there seems to be little doubt left and that Viktor Yanukovych has defeated his one-time Orange Revolution foe Yulia Tymoshenko in Ukraine's presidential election. But, never one to avoid drama, Tymoshenko has not conceded yet leading opponents and supporters alike to wonder if she plans to take to the streets again. 

Not likely says the BBC's Richard Galpin: 

At a news conference in Kiev on Monday, a team of election observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe was blunt in its assessment of Ukraine's post-election landscape.

"Yesterday's vote was an impressive display of democratic elections. For everyone in Ukraine, this election was a victory," said Joao Soares, the team co-ordinator.

"It is now time for the country's political leaders to listen to the people's verdict and make sure that the transition of power is peaceful and constructive."

Those two sentences alone may have been enough to cut the ground from underneath Mrs Tymoshenko's feet.

Challenging the election result in the courts or on the street without the cover of credible allegations of fraud would be a tough sell even to her own supporters.

This time around, there isn't a whole lot of daylight between Tymoshenko and Yanukovych's positions, and it would be hard to imagine her being able to drum up the same level of fervor for an opposition movement.



Was Murtha good for Johnstown?

I'm sad to see that John Murtha, the Pennsylvania congressman and defense spending cardinal, has died after a long and productive life in government.

Whatever your views on Murtha -- and as  someone who grew up in southwest Pennsylvania, I certainly have my own opinions -- this is very bad news for Johnstown, the main town in the district he represented for nearly 36 years. Because if there's one thing Murtha did, it was bring home the bacon. Millions of dollars of it.

There was the John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute, the John P. Murtha Regional Cancer Center, the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center, the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, and of course the John P. Murtha Institute for Homeland Security, to name but a few of the places, not to mention a number of defense contractors, kept afloat thanks to the congressman's mastery of the earmark system.The loss of a patron in Washington will be devastating.

Maybe, though, Johnstown will ultimately be better off without Murtha's largesse. The town was crushed by the collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s, and never really recovered. Murtha's projects, along with some telemarketing and retail business, were about the only source of employment the town of 24,000 had to offer. Yet household income is about half the national average, and the area school system is abysmal. Now, Johnstown will have to attract industry on the region's own merits, rather than relying on its powerful friend on Capitol Hill. It's going to be painful for a while, but I hope this hard-luck town will emerge stronger for it.