From dog groomers to investment advisors workers are being trapped in dead end jobs by something called a TRAP. In fact there are more workers trapped in a TRAP than ever before. Continue reading TRAP-ed
Let’s keep the momentum going that was impossible to imagine a mere month ago. Continue reading The Biden Presidency Is Not Done Winning
There’s another wild fire in California that’s eating up tens of thousands of acres. The ten biggest wild fires in the state’s history have all occurred in the last ten years. Now just why is that I wonder? Continue reading Fire Up Above
They say there is a Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules. I think it’s time for the Golden State to start making the rules. Trust me, you’ll be better off for it. Continue reading The Gold(en) State Rules
Bottle Shock – a temporary condition when wine changes color upon bottling, then reverts back soon after. Continue reading BottleRocked
What does the word government mean to you? It’s a fundamental question we never seem to ask people running for office. We should. Continue reading A Fundamental Question
How can Democrats win in 2022? By saying what they really believe in. Then saying it again. And once more for good effect. In other words keep saying it to everyone who will listen. That’s how Democrats win elections. Continue reading And Away We Go…
Russia has oligarchs. But so does the West. And they run some of the biggest media outlets, including the one where Rupert Murdoch uses Tucker Carlson as his ventriloquist dummy, Continue reading Oligarchs ‘R Us
If you are an American, the National Parks are part of your heritage. Explore them, enjoy them, make them part of your permanent memory file. And don’t let anyone tell you this land wasn’t meant for you and me. Continue reading A Postcard From Your National Parks
Amazon has an entry level wage of $18/hour, but to get it you have to put up with computer– yes computer– supervisors, backbreaking labor, and insane conditions. Yet only one warehouse has unionized. Really? Continue reading State of the Union
Sometimes it happens that the little guys win. Amazon wanted to put a distribution center on a 2 lane country road and then have 87 delivery vans and 14 semi trucks go in and out on it. The neighbors put Amazon up a river. Continue reading The Final Mile
Would you wait six hours on line for a chance to sample a beer that is only available for two weeks each year? Thousands just did that at the annual release of Pliny The Younger at Russian River Brewing. And you know what? It’s a good thing. Continue reading A Postcard From Russian River Brewing
Buried in this story was evidence of a theory I have about the level of American awareness on certain subjects – gasoline prices, crime, the economy, the deficit, etc. It’s more of a worry than a theory, which is that the complete detachment between perception and reality is going to be a big issue moving forward and very well may mean the end of our democracy. Continue reading An Ill-Informed Electorate: Not Good For Democracy
California Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed an $11B aid package to our state’s citizens to help combat the effects of $6 a gallon gas. But the government didn’t cause the spike in oil prices. Even Tsar Vlad only partially caused it. Greedy oil companies are the culprits. Your anger should be directed at them. Continue reading California Gets Gassed
Two items from where the worlds of sports and business collide got my attention. One was a new way to support your favorite team. The other showed how economic sanctions might not work as smoothly if the target is China. Continue reading Huddle Up
We’ve just passed the two year mark since the first national shelter in place order was issued. Time is right to play the blame game. All the usual subjects, plus one or two you might not have thought about. Continue reading 731 Odd Days
Putin looks fondly back at the days of the Soviet Union and wistfully muses how things were so much better when everyone feared their own government. Ah the good old days Continue reading Back To The Future
While Russian troops advance into Ukraine, the Russian economy looks to be slipping further and further into inflation, recession, and dare I say even depression. The New York Times has a good article that articulates in non-Economics Professor terms just what the West is doing financially to try and curtail the Mad Dog of Moscow.
Last week I advocated for severe economic punishment for Russia’s blatant disregard for Ukraine’s national sovereignty and amazingly (because who thought the Western Allies could ever agree on doing something) that punishment has been meted out.
I’m hoping that the somewhat is only to give Vlad the Impersonator a taste of what could happen if full measures were in fact instituted. Hoping, but something tells me that somewhere along the line some country somewhere will do the “but we need their natural gas” and begin to fray the alliance. But as for now the sanctions currently in place are definitely worrying to Russia. Russians are lining up at ATM’s trying to get cash out. The Bank of Russia even went so far as to promise that
“The volume of bank notes ready for loading into A.T.M.s is more than sufficient. All customer funds on bank accounts are fully preserved and available for any transactions.”
Um, sure. But something tells me many Russians are getting ready to make a run on the bank which is never a good thing. Would that panic spread to the rest of the world? My college economics professor would have said yes, but the world has changed in the *cough cough* years since I took his class. As the sequel to Wall Street (the movie) said, “money never sleeps”. Besides with a government fiat against doing business with Russian banks in place, a default letter from any Russian bank will be laughed at by any foreign borrower.
Damn that let’s Trump off the hook for a while. No wonder he thought Putin’s Penetration was a smart move.
There’s more to the story, click the link below
The wife (Cruella) and I are travelling for the next two weeks. Actually we’ll be on a cruise ship. More about that next time. This time I’d like to say a good word for the newest Americans working the crappiest jobs who frankly saved our bacon over the last 24 hours. Our flight from San Francisco to Atlanta was delayed two and a half hours because of the winter weather on the East Coast. Just quickly, really Delta? Are you not aware that in late January, early February it can get really snowy on the East coast? And if so … Continue reading Let’s Hear It For The Immigrants
Last Friday the wife (Cruella) and I wanted to go out to dinner. We have a favorite Chinese restaurant we frequent and the desire for their Barbeque Pork Chow Fun combined with our desire to get out of the house neatly.
We have been to this restaurant numerous times, in point of fact we discovered it during the pandemic, both to dine in and to get take out (or take away if you are reading this in the UK). Never a hassle, good food, and most importantly a chance to get out of the house and eat at a different table and gaze at something other than, well, each other.
As has become custom during the pandemic I went to their website to make sure of their operating hours and if they were continuing to offer dine in service. Nothing had changed, so off we went.
Much to our surprise their doorway was blocked and a small sign taped to the glass window announced that since the previous Tuesday they had gone to “Take Out and Door Dash Only”.
While we probably should have gone in search of other eating arraignments, our appetites were craving that Chow Fun, so we scrapped our plans to dine in and ordered to go. While waiting for our order to be completed I counted four people coming to pick up orders they had placed online or via the phone and a stunning seven Door Dashers. That’s eleven total orders in the span of ten minutes.
The other thing I noticed is that the prices had gone up. The chow fun, an order of garlic shrimp, and an order of potstickers came to $36, about 30% higher than we would have been charged prior to the pandemic. Now there is inflation to factor in, plus trying to make back some of what was lost when the restaurant was closed early in the pandemic, but 30% higher? That’s when it hit me. Actually it was the woman from Door Dash who hit me because she was staring down at her phone and not looking where she was going.
I’m being asked to subsidize all of their Door Dash sales. And so are my fellow diners.
You can dash on to more by clicking the link
So a couple of weeks ago the wife (Cruella) went to the doctor for her annual “well woman checkup”. If you are a woman you know what that means. If you are a man, ask a woman, and it would be best to ask a woman who understands your tolerance for the realities of the female anatomy, to explain it to you.
Cruella checked out just fine as she knew she would. She went out and had lunch with her friends, then tootled on home and thought nothing more of it. The next week an envelope arrived from Palo Alto Medical Foundation, the medical corporation that her doctor works for. In it was a bill for the “well woman checkup” to the tune of $493. Well that’s a surprise since our Blue Cross insurance should have covered the entire amount charged for the check up.
Here’s an important thing to know about my wife. Years ago she had a thought to get into a new line of work and decided medical billing would be an interesting application of her skills. Thus she took courses and bought text books on how to “code” as they say in the biz. Code refers to the various permutations of numbers and letters that are used to define the procedure a patient comes in for (in this case a well woman checkup) and the diagnosis the doctor comes up with (she’s fine, come back in a year). Those codes are the basis on which the doctor or the corporation he works for charge your insurance company and you. Suffice it to say that even though she never actually entered that field, the information never left her head. And the textbooks became fixtures in our bookcase.
It turns out that we got this bill because instead of the visit being coded as a well woman checkup, it was coded as a well woman checkup WITH a diagnosis that something was wrong. Z01.411 versus Z01.419. I am not making these code numbers up. Getting on the phone she called the doctor’s office and was told, no we in the office coded it properly, you’ll need to call the corporate billing department to see if they changed anything.
Ah yes, welcome to the third circle of hell. When you go to the doctor at Palo Alto Med, which by the way is actually owned by a larger corporation called Sutter Health, the doctor’s office is responsible to code the reason for and result of the visit. That information is sent on to the actual Sutter Health billing department, ostensibly to double check it was billed properly, before it is sent on to your health insurance company so they can pay the bill. In order to make sure the code is correct, or perhaps to justify their code, the doctor also sends on their notes from the visit.
Oh you thought your medical records were private. How quaint.
So now Millie in billing gets to read all the doctor’s notes on your visit and can decide, nope, we gotta change this code or add in another code here because in the notes there is a mention of maybe possibly kinda sorta if I squint real hard there might be a potential problem. Thus Z01.411 becomes Z01.419. Then she ships it all off to Blue Cross happy in the knowledge she has served her corporate masters well. She kicks back, puts her feet up on the desk, takes a long sip from her martini glass and pulls out a Kool Menthol to celebrate her achievement. That’s assuming she redid the coding in an honest attempt to be as correct as possible.
Thing is, Sutter Health is actually kinda known for not being the most reputable when it comes to doing honest coding. To the tune of a $90 million dollar fine by the federal government.
Does that have you intrigued? Click the link below to continue on
In the last two years COVID has inspired lots of people to embrace nostalgia for the past. TV shows from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s are the “go-to” viewing for millions. Safe, warm, inviting, and you know how it all turns out anyway (Rachel doesn’t get on the plane). People are rereading or reading for the first time books from out of their past, even the ones you had to slog through in English Lit 101 and couldn’t understand why anyone ever thought this was any good (looking at you Jane Austen). Baking bread became a talisman for happier times when you came home from school to the tantalizing smell of something Mom just pulled out of the oven, a pleasant certainty in a time of complete uncertainty.
Even in politics there seems to be a desire to return to what we grew up with. A time when the President of the United States didn’t call Nazis “good people”. A time when Supreme Court nominees were distinguished legal scholars or experienced jurists who got a full and fair hearing in front of the Senate. A time when street protests were the province of the left and editorial handwringing was the province of the right. A time when the violent overthrow of the government of the United States was the stuff of political suspense novels. In other words, a time when you knew who the good guys were (us) and who the bad guys were (them).
So thanks Vladimir Putin for bringing back a remnant of an earlier time: Russia versus America in The Great Game. Just when you were thinking there would never again be a solidly black and white issue where we as a country stood together against the Evil Empire, Vlad decided it was time to sprinkle his troops along the border between his country and Ukraine and threaten to invade. All that’s missing is Brezhnev’s bushy brows, Nixon’s nattering nabobs, and Kissinger’s krafty kreepiness. Geo-politics is always better with alliteration.
Yes, Russia has it’s troops poised to invade Ukraine like so many plastic armies on a Risk game board. Meanwhile Russian and American diplomats hold talks in that citadel of diplomacy and spy craft called Geneva to try and hold off any sort of military confrontation. You can almost feel the strings being pulled by the various players and emissaries. In the meantime George Smiley is sending his people back into the cold. The main difference this time is that the ideological aspects of the Cold War are gone. This isn’t the Communists versus the Democracies, it actually harkens back to an even earlier version, the Fascists versus the Democracies.
And I hate to say it, but it’s a bit frightening to harken back to that earlier era of confrontation, mostly because we know very well how it played out and how it played out was not all that well. The similarities make it even more frightening.
Wanna see more? Click the link below
How’s your 2022 going so far?
I know it’s only a few days into the new year and you might still be recovering from your New Year’s Eve party/day.
On the other hand, maybe you’re not. That’s the point. After nearly two years (yes, that’s right, two years) of pandemic it’s time to admit we have entered a new normal. Large groupings of unrelated people milling about for hours, drinking, carousing, perhaps even exchanging bodily, um, connections, those days are over for the foreseeable future.
I’m here to say, don’t be afraid of the new normal. It’s just the latest in a long line of them.
Granted a new normal is usually after some kind of war has ravaged a country or several. Buildings stand, if they still stand at all, damaged to an extent ranging from a need for a good cleaning to a need for a good enema. Populations redistribute to areas where the damage is less (sometimes called being a refugee) alternately causing a need for more in one area and a need for less in another. Once stable supply systems are taxed and/or destabilized to the point of incompetency. Governments are changed either through the ballot or through the bullet. Niche groups rise up to take advantage of the power vacuum, usually niche groups on the far extremes of the political spectrum.
Does any of this sound familiar? Replace “war” with “COVID” and there you are.
If I may go off on a slight tangent, if the COVID pandemic is the equivalent of a war, wouldn’t those “soldiers” (aka citizens) who refuse to get vaccinated be guilty of dereliction of duty or perhaps even disobeying an order from a superior officer (AKA the president)? As such shouldn’t they be thrown into prison? I won’t go so far as to say shot, but a forced jab might be in order.
Make no mistake, the time will come when you are old and grey and your grandchild is sitting on your lap looking up and asking “What did you do in the great COVID pandemic Grands?” What do you want to tell them? That you did all that was asked of you? Or that you didn’t believe any of it was true which is why you’re tethered to the oxygen tank little Billie is idly playing with the valves on as you chat.
But I digress.
The need to mourn what was should be superseded by the excitement of what is to be.
Wanna know more about what the new world will look like? Click the link
This is going to be a far less poetic look at The Joe Manchin Problem than what ADRASTOS offered earlier today, but I wanted to talk about this entire shit-storm from a bit different angle: the awful media framing. Since everything about American politics seems to be covered as sports, the Build Back Better bill was covered strictly from a political viewpoint, i.e. “horserace political journalism.” This meant that because conservatives have successfully made everything about dollar figures and fake-concern about deficits, the price tag dominated all discussion. In turn, everyone focused on Manic Pixie Dream Senator Krysten Sinema and … Continue reading “He’s Hurting The Progressive Agenda” Is Horrible Framing Of The Manchin Mess
I’ve had a good week so far, even the post COVID booster jab couldn’t bring me down.
So I’ve decided it’s time to play with the third rail of American liberal politics — homelessness.
There is no issue in America today that blurs the liberal-conservative divide more than homelessness. I know liberals who sound like die hard Republicans when it comes to the homeless (“Whatever needs to be done to get them off the street”) and conservatives sounding like bleeding hearts (“They need to be cared for”). But it’s within the liberal community where I see the most heated arguments over the situation. Even here in deep blue liberal Sonoma there are heated arguments over solutions.
It’s hard to have a solution when you don’t understand the problem.
Of course here in Sonoma our homeless population is eight guys who hang around the plaza during the day and to be honest are as well behaved and clean as can be expected. Mostly they pull together enough money to get a coffee and a roll from the Basque Bakery, cross the street to the plaza, and spend the day being your basic old man coffee klatch. One thing we have done is create a collaboration between the police and a local church to offer rides starting at 6PM for anyone without shelter to stay in the church overnight. Two rules. Once you’re in, you’re in till 7AM the next morning. The second rule is that means no sleeping on the streets at night.
Not a bad solution.
But we have many who decry that this is the government working with a religious organization and that is not to be tolerated. And we have those who cry that it’s not enough and we need to build shelters. And we have those who declaim that allowing them to congregate (congregate? eight guys?) in the plaza is a hazard for families and a bad image for the tourists. And we have those, again very liberal people on all other issues, who just want them run out of town as a warning to others of the homeless community that Sonoma is to be avoided. Not to mention the church’s neighbors who worry about homeless people in their neighborhood.
The point is we don’t really have it that bad. These guys, yeah they’re not all mentally there, none of them. They are the portion of the homeless population that, in a sane world, would be looked after by the state in fully equipped, hygienic facilities where they could get the therapy and/or drugs they need to get themselves together.
And that brings up the point I really want to get to.
The homeless are not all of the same ilk. Yes, some of them are the victims of a brutal economic environment where housing is expensive even on the cheaper ends, but that’s not all of them. Some of them, like the guys in the plaza have mental issues. Some of them are just people who think it’s their right to camp out wherever they want.
But the vast majority of the homeless have serious addiction problems that have lead them to the streets. We’re not talking about “oh Daddy has a few too many martinis when he comes home from work” addiction. We’re talking about “I’d rather pay for that next hit then pay the rent on even the most cut-rate rathole” addiction.
That is the where the real trouble lies.
Click the link to read all about P2P and the hell it has created
As we head into Thanksgiving I want to make something very clear:
I hate Black Friday.
I hate it the way you hate a former lover who you come to realize was just using you for one reason or another.
I hate it the way you hate that drunk uncle down at the end of the Thanksgiving table who keeps babbling about how “Trump was robbed”.
I hate it the way you can only hate something that you put up with for thirty plus years of retail life even though you hated it and thought it silly.
For the first part of my business career I was a retailer. I was a retailer because my family had been retailers. My father owned retail stores, my grandfather owned a retail store, I’m sure if I searched back far enough I’d find out my family tree is littered with pushcart peddlers peddling a plethora of profitable products particularly pots, pans, and pantaloons.
I get my alliteration gene from my ancestor Schmuel the schmaltzy schmoozing schmendrake.
The first time I heard the phrase Black Friday I was probably six or seven, visiting my father’s stationary store in Hempstead New York on the Friday after Thanksgiving which at the time was a day off only for students and teachers. Did I become aware of it from signs in the store advertising “Black Friday Sales”? Had I seen the phrase bandied about on television or radio? No, Black Friday was a inside joke, a knowing nod to how the rest of the year sales made accounted for our “nut”, the money you needed to earn just to keep the lights on, pay salaries, and give the government their cut. From the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve the money made was the retailer’s profit for the year. Thus, we were going into the black, money wise, hence Black Friday.
Somewhere along the line our little inside joke became a national holiday/mania. Traditions among families sprouted left and right. Mom and her daughters getting up at 4AM to be at the mall, credit cards clenched tightly in their fists, for the incredible bargains that had been hinted at but never advertised during the weeks leading up to the third Thursday in November. This allowed Dad and sons to not only indulge in tryptophan induced coma sleep but to, upon awakening, indulge in the traditional post Thanksgiving breakfast of mashed potatoes and dressing formed into thick pancake like discs and fried. Serve with a side of jellied cranberry sauce. Extra points if the can’s ridges are still visible in the jelly.
Fess up, you’ve made it, just admit it and move on.
I’m sure your family had it’s own traditions, even if it was just the tradition of laughing at the lines of people waiting to get into Best Buy as you drove home from dinner on Thursday. That was my family tradition.
Clickity Clickity Clock, Press the button to read some more
There is a bit of a kerfuffle going on right now over inflation.
Some say it is the only issue the country should be grappling with. Others say that the fear of inflation is overblown and not nearly as important as say climate change or voting rights. As prices rise and wages do not the public is becoming fearful of being able to make ends meet. When the public is fearful, the political party in power tends to be blamed for it.
Especially when the other party’s propaganda wing harps on it to the exclusion of pretty much all other news.
My personal favorite of the Faux News Factless Fatuousness is the $7.59 a gallon California gas station. Let’s take a look at that story. Don’t worry, that link doesn’t take you to Faux News, I have a greater respect for my readership than to pull a stunt like that. At any rate it turns out the $7.59 per gallon gas at exactly ONE gas station in the remote coastal town of Gorda comes from the fact that the station only receives one shipment every couple of weeks and pays the highest cost per gallon for gas delivery in the country and because, yeah, if you are nearing empty in that remote coastal town and the next gas station is at least two or three gallons away you’ll pay whatever you have to in order to buy a couple of gallons. The proprietor also reports that he rarely sells a full tankful which also forces him to have a higher price.
Economics 101. It’s called supply and demand.
Now yes we do have the highest cost of gas in the country as I have discussed before, but guess what? We here in liberal, blue, Democratic California have the highest wages in the country. You know those ads for Amazon where they tout how they pay a minimum of $15 per hour and then cut to a shot of cheering warehouse employees? That’s our minimum wage. I don’t see FedEx running ads showing their warehouse employees cheering their $7.25 per hour Tennessee minimum wage.
But let’s get back to inflation. Repugnicants want to harp on it because they see it as the issue that will get white, no college, women to flock to them in 2022.
Here’s the thing. They’re right.
Repugnicants have always been the winning party when they can get two things: their base to vote, and the undecideds to swing their way. Undecideds may be too bored to have an opinion, but they vote based on the one issue that people SHOULD be basing their vote on, their pocketbook. If a gallon of gas is double what it was four years ago, somebody has to pay for that rapid escalation. Especially when it’s somebody who is negotiating climate deals that will save the planet, but make gas even more expensive.
Leaving a habitable planet for your kids and grandkids is a nice concept, but putting food on the table right now is much more important to those folks.
So Democrats, if you want to keep your majority in Congress and maybe even make that majority solid enough to tell Senators Manchinnychinchin and Semolina to go fold it five ways and stick it where the sun don’t shine you might want to listen to the concerns of those white non college educated females.
And then you might want to weaponize what they tell you.
Play the Repugnicants’ game. They are always taking issues and surrounding them in a fog of unrepentant propaganda, how about you do the same? But here’s the thing, you can use the truth as a weapon.
Wow, what a concept.
The truth is that inflation is keyed by one product and one product alone. It’s the only product that all other products have to use in one way or another. When it’s price rises, all other prices rise to ameliorate that increase. And what product is that?
I’ll give you three guesses, but I think you’ll only need one.
Click Click Click the link below to find out what it is
Once again, conservatives have shown they are better at branding then liberals.
The Squad, the group of six progressive Congress people, Jamaal Bowman of New York, Cori Bush of Missouri, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, all voted against the Biden infrastructure bill because it didn’t include the climate change and social services upgrades that have been tossed over into another bill. Okay, it was a procedural move, made only because they knew the bill as amended would pass with or without their votes.
But I want to talk about the name they’ve given themselves. In particular because the eight Republicans (I’ll give them the real party name since they were good guys on this vote) who voted for the bill, Don Bacon of Nebraska, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Andrew Garbarino of New York, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, John Katko of New York, Tom Reed of New York, Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey and Fred Upton of Michigan, are calling themselves the Problem Solvers Caucus. Yes, I know there are moderate Democratic members of this caucus, making it somewhat bipartisan, but it’s the Republicans in the caucus that are getting the press while the Democrats are being seen as merely going along with their party’s president.
Let’s face facts. The Squad is what a bunch of urban hipsters would call themselves, a quasi super hero team name that implies something but I couldn’t tell you what. “Hey let’s get The Squad together and go out to that new Indian Mexican fusion spot over on Tenth Avenue”. The Problem Solvers Caucus tells you exactly what they are about. Are they really about problem solving? In the world of politics no title ever truly gives a clear picture as to what the group is about. Except CREEP, the Committee to Re-elect The President, the one that was intricately woven into the Watergate saga. Yeah they were a bunch of CREEPs.
It comes down to perception. The Squad voted against a bill that will give millions of people jobs. The Problem Solvers Caucus voted for giving all those people new jobs, i.e, they solved a problem. Now come later this month when the bill with all the climate change and social services stuff in it comes up for a vote and they vote against it their name might be mud, but for the moment (and in politics it’s all about the moment), it’s the Problem Solvers who solved a problem and the Squad who said we’re not even interested in getting some pork projects for our own home districts, but I’ll have a double whip, no foam half-caf Vente mocha to go. The only thing they gave their districts was the finger. At least that’s how it’s perceived.
And the Repugnicant Party will make sure all the campaign ads, even the ones for the 200 odd members of the House riding the magic Faux News bandwagon who voted against the bill, will tout how they are the party of the Problem Solvers. Those who oppose them, you know those Urban (nee Black), Greedy (nee Jewish), Intellectuals (nee anyone smarter than you), they don’t really have their constituents concerns at heart. It’s nothing but a dog whistle to this week’s flavor of the moment voting bloc, white women with no college education.
Good luck winning re-election or retaining the House running against that.
More after you clickety clickety clack the link below
My apologies for not writing last Friday, but I was caught up in the travel and prep for my younger son’s wedding.
Did you miss me? The wife (Cruella) would say aim lower.
The youngster and his intended live down in Los Angeles. The wedding itself was in Pasadena. Do not, under any circumstances, ever refer to Pasadena as being a part of Los Angeles. They are two very distinct and different cities and while Los Angeles loves having Pasadena nearby (I mean the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl if nothing else), Pasadena abides having Los Angeles nearby. All that new money you know, terribly gauche if you ask Mrs. Snottybottom. She’d tell you even if you didn’t ask.
Trekking down to the Southland from Sonoma means taking Interstate 5 down through the Central Valley of California. If you don’t know what the Central Valley is, just check out your kitchen cupboards. Probably a quarter to a half of all the food you have in there is from the Central Valley. Remember those Happy California Cows or the California Raisins? They both call the Central Valley home. It’s also one of the more conservative areas of California, at least from the standpoint of the landowners there. And by landowners I mean HugeAgriBusiness Inc. Who was supplying the money for the recent recall movement? Most of it came in boxes postmarked from Bakersfield, Fresno, or Merced. So as you traverse the concrete byway that is I5 there are plenty of signs espousing conservative beliefs, from what you would expect (Recall Newsom!) to head scratching (Prevent Man Made Droughts — Build More Dams). So you agree the drought is man made but believe the solution is not to deal with climate change but to build more dams. So you can have more low cost or even free water while us city folk go thirsty. Suuurrrreee.
And that’s all before you get to Harris Ranch, an 800 acre feedlot containing 250,000 head of cattle and all the necessary equipment to turn those cows into what’s for dinner. We call it Cowschvitz. If you’re not at least considering going vegan before driving past, you will be once the aroma of a quarter of a million cows permeates your nostrils. Believe it or not, they have a restaurant and hotel on the property. Hard pass on that for me.
At the end of the 420 mile, six and a half hour car ride was the Langham Huntington Hotel. We had decided to pamper ourselves a bit with a stay here. The last time we were here was about 40 years ago and it was for work. This time we would be able to take advantage of all the coddling and first class service they could provide. They did not disappoint. I mean, turn down service, who still does that? Well they do. And they leave the Bose system in the room tuned to KUSC, the SoCal classical station so when you get back in late at night it’s a calm and soothing way to slip off to sleep.
Jump in past the break, we haven’t even gotten to the wedding yet.
One of the all-time great scenes in movie history is the infamous speech by a sales executive that was given to a beleaguered sales team in the film “Glengarry Glen Ross.” In it, the sales executive, played by Alec Baldwin, unleashes a profanity-filled (and over-the-top) rant-speech that includes a slogan – A.B.C. This stands for Always Be Closing, and that’s what the Democrats need to do if/when they pass the reconciliation bill. Many in the DC media are going to highlight what’s not in the bill and was cut, just like they didn’t really mention in the last few months … Continue reading Democrats Need to Be A.B.C.