Wednesday August 20, 2014
August 14th, 2014
In Texas, a private company wants to build a bullet train joining Dallas and Houston. In California, the state is raising its own billions to create a very fast ride between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Two very different ways to fund high-speed rail, but they have one thing in common. They bypass the thousand-car pileup that is Washington politics.
Well, let's hope that's over.
President Barack Obama was in Martha's Vineyard, playing golf. Hillary Clinton arrived, ready to sign books. They were headed for the same birthday party where, a Clinton aide said, they intended to "hug it out." Peace was declared. Extraordinary! You would think they were both professional politicians.
The name is New Belgium, and if you’re a beer drinker, most likely you are familiar. It started 23 years ago in Jeff Lebesch’s basement in Fort Collins, Colo. Now, with Fat Tire its most popular label, it’s the nation’s eighth-largest brewery.
It’s also one of the most socially responsible corporations in America.
I talked to Robin Williams once, about breasts.
In 1993, when he played a prim British nanny in "Mrs. Doubtfire," I went to interview him at his Pacific Heights house.
"It's great to be this blue-mouthed old lady hitting on somebody," he said, in his character's soft Scottish burr, "opening your blouse and saying, 'What about these? Behold my dirty pillows, my fun bags. Come nurse at the fountain of bliss.'"
"What," people ask me, "do you cook when you're not working?" The answer is pretty consistent: "pasta and fish and a vegetable, or pasta and salad and a vegetable, or salad and fish and a vegetable, or pasta and salad and fish and a vegetable." There are exceptions, of course, but there's a comfort level here and it's been this way for a long time, through different kitchens and domestic arrangements.
Once again, air strikes on Iraq have begun. President Obama says it will be a “limited" strike. Next he says, “This is going to be a long-term project.” And the timetable? On Aug. 9, he said, “The most important timetable that I’m focused on right now is the Iraqi government getting formed and finalized.” But how long will it take for Iraq to meet his goal of a unified and inclusive government? Looks like another war without end.
As President Obama struggles to deal with the crisis in Iraq, it's useful to remember who gave the world this cauldron of woe in the first place: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Their decision to launch a foolish and unwarranted invasion in 2003, toppling Saddam Hussein and destroying any vestige of the Iraqi state, is directly responsible for the chaos we see today, including the rapid advance of the well-armed jihadist militia that calls itself the Islamic State.
The other night, a prominent Democrat I know made the craziest statement.
"I don't think Hillary's going to run," he proclaimed, silencing the room. He might as well have said that he'd just spotted Bigfoot pilfering rhubarb from the White House vegetable garden or that Arnold Schwarzenegger was in line to play King Lear on Broadway. ("Cordelia, I'll be baaaaack.") He was humming some kind of loony tune.
"When I first heard about the decision, I was speechless," said Sonny Vaccaro.
Speechless as in he never thought this day would come.
Vaccaro is the former sneaker marketer turned anti-NCAA crusader, and he was talking about Friday's decision in the O'Bannon case - the one in which Judge Claudia Wilken ruled that the principle of amateurism is not a legal justification for business practices that violate the nation's antitrust laws.