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December 14, 2010 Leave a comment

View from Madison Park

It’s not every day that Gail makes the Seattle Times. Yesterday was such a day, so I am taking note. And the front page no less!

Well, okay, it was just the front page of the local section. And you had to turn to the continuation inside to find her. But she was there. See for yourself, in the online version. At a party I attended this evening, two people who had taken the trouble to turn the page came up to me to say they read about her.

The article describes our neighborhood’s newly established “snow brigade, complete with drivers and walkers willing to fetch groceries and prescriptions, shovel walks, drive homebound residents to warm shelters and even walk dogs. It’s the only organized neighborhood effort in Seattle, city officials say.”

What does this have to do with Gail? Although she didn’t initiate the brigade, she presides over the Madison Park Community Council (as president, though the article describes her as “chair”), and so the brigade is part of her bailiwick. This led the Seattle Times writer to interview, and quote, her.

Let’s hope the snow brigade sees limited duty this winter.

Categories: Family, Today's News

Elena Kagan, II

May 10, 2010 Leave a comment

[Doug Mills/The New York Times]

Last night, in anticipation of Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court this morning, I wrote expressing my disappointment. Three hours ago, Obama made the expected announcement. I’m still disappointed. Let me link to, and quote from, some blog posts this morning that help explain my disappointment.
Read more…

Categories: Law, Politics, Today's News

Chocolate Gourmet

December 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Controlling Coconut

In the NYT last month, Marian Burros had her annual list of ten recommended ideas for food gifts available online or by mail order. (To my immense annoyance, I can’t only find a link at the moment to an all-text version of the article, here. What I’m not seeing is the version with a photo of each recommended item and a link to it. In any case … ) One of the items was an “assortment of aptly described ”damn good cookies” with silly names: overprotective pecans, material macadamia, chubby wubby chocolate, etc.” from Chocolate Gourmet in Chicago. On further investigation, I learned that Chocolate Gourmet offers three lines of product: cookies, truffles, and rugelach. Moreover, by ordering the show them you care more assortment — or the still larger show them you care a lot! and show off assortments — you can get samples of each of the different cookies, truffles, and rugelach they make. They can all be viewed by going to the site and clicking on any of the cookies. For instance, go here, and once there, click on any item to read more about it.

We didn’t want to be show offs, so we ordered show them you care more for my parents. Based on their response, and the pointlessness of showing off to ourselves, whom we already care about a lot, we ordered the same package for ourselves. It should have come Wednesday, but the snow in the midwest must have delayed it. Tracking on FedEx showed that it arrived in Indianapolis Tuesday night and didn’t leave until late Wednesday afternoon. Fortunately, it arrived Thursday morning, so we have been able to enjoy its offerings through the weekend.

We’ve had other chocolate around the house. Perhaps for that reason I have confined my research to the damn good cookies rather than the ugly truffles or the rugelach. I’ve tried them all now. My favorites are the controlling coconut, described at the website as “crisp coconut encrusted cookie rolled in powder sugar.” They are probably the simplest of the bunch, but sometimes simple is all one needs. Honorable mention to overprotective pecan: “cookie coated pecan halves and bittersweet chocolate chips.” The chubby wubby chocolate might be a little too rich for me. They are “bittersweet ganache sandwiched by two soft, bittersweet chocolate cookies each studded with bittersweet chocolate chips.”

The only truffle I can remember trying so far is the hairy coconut: “creamy coconut ganache encased in white chocolate and rolled in toasted coconut.” Excellent. I have somehow resisted the gordito picante, whose description is the most intriguing: “smooth cinnamony Mexican chocolate warmed with chili spices and surrounded in milk chocolate and toasted corn tortillas.” Tonight.

If you’re looking for a New Year’s treat, give them a try.

Categories: Today's News

Who Knew?

November 19, 2009 Leave a comment

We spent 23 days in France, Italy, New York, and Chicago, and now I discover that if I was looking for great theater, I could have stayed here. The weekly Escapes section in tomorrow’s NYT has an article praising Seattle theater. As one example, Brian Colburn, the new managing director of the Intiman Theater, says, “One of the reasons I came to Seattle was because there’s a theater scene here unlike most other cities. There’s probably as much theater here as in the city of Los Angeles, but the population is one-sixth the size. You can walk from theater to theater here, meet friends or colleagues at a cafe.”

It seems we have good art, music, and food too, all in a beautiful setting. Maybe we should try being tourists here for a week or two.

Categories: Theater, Today's News

Disingenuous Gingrich

August 20, 2009 Leave a comment

gingrich

It’s hardly news that Newt Gingrich is disingenuous. Well, let’s just call him a liar. But I don’t know why the NYT feels an obligation to print his lies in when he writes a letter to them. Paul Krugman, in a column last week on the health care “debate,” wrote:

Right now, the charge that’s gaining the most traction is the claim that health care reform will create “death panels” (in Sarah Palin’s words) that will shuffle the elderly and others off to an early grave. It’s a complete fabrication, of course. The provision requiring that Medicare pay for voluntary end-of-life counseling was introduced by Senator Johnny Isakson, Republican — yes, Republican — of Georgia, who says that it’s “nuts” to claim that it has anything to do with euthanasia.

And not long ago, some of the most enthusiastic peddlers of the euthanasia smear, including Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, and Mrs. Palin herself, were all for “advance directives” for medical care in the event that you are incapacitated or comatose. That’s exactly what was being proposed — and has now, in the face of all the hysteria, been dropped from the bill.

Yet the smear continues to spread. And as the example of Mr. Gingrich shows, it’s not a fringe phenomenon: Senior G.O.P. figures, including so-called moderates, have endorsed the lie.

In a letter to the editor dated August 14 (the day of Krugman’s column) but printed today, Gingrich responds, in part:

I have always been a vocal proponent of proper end-of-life planning — and an equally vocal opponent of government intervention in the most sacred of moments.

Gundersen Lutheran Health System in Wisconsin gets it right. Ninety-plus percent of patients complete advance directives with their doctors, nurses and families. Gundersen offers this because it is good for patients, not because of a government directive.

Government intervention in the most sacred of moments? Government directive? What the hell is he talking about? How does a provision in a bill that would have Medicare cover voluntary consultations between individuals and their doctors about end of life care, including a discussion of living wills, qualify as either? The very features Gingrich praises at Gundersen would be funded, if the individual chooses. How can that not be good? But of course this isn’t about what’s good. It’s about doing whatever it takes to poison the political atmosphere and ensure that no bill passes. Like lying.

Categories: Lies, Politics, Today's News

Do I Feel Lucky?

July 30, 2009 Leave a comment

feelinglucky

I haven’t posted a Ted Rall cartoon in over three weeks, so maybe I can get away with posting one again. His latest is above.

Um, do I need to explain anything? You see, there’s Skip Gates. And Sgt. James Crowley of the Cambridge Police Department. You know them. And there’s this famous movie, Dirty Harry, with Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan. In the movie, well, see for yourself in the clip below. The key lines start at 1’35”, but the entire clip is useful for context.

George Tiller

May 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Dr. Tiller was murdered this morning while serving as an usher at his church in Wichita, Kansas. I urge you to read the stories that hilzoy has collected in a recent post, describing late-term abortions performed in situations where the alternative was worse. See also a story Andrew Sullivan posted earlier tonight from a reader describing a case in which a late-term abortion wasn’t performed.

Yet we have such people as Bill O’Reilly to thank for describing Dr. Tiller as Tiller the Baby Killer who “”destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000.” See here for more on how O’Reilly has campaigned tirelessly for over four years against Dr. Tiller.

Categories: Today's News

John Yoo on Sotomayor

May 27, 2009 Leave a comment

sotomayor

I’m sure that at some point in the not too distant future, no one will understand why John Yoo gets to have a public voice on the issues of the day. The greatest mystery in this regard is why the Philadelphia Inquirer hired him recently to write a monthly column. Ideological balance? Okay, but aren’t conservatives available who aren’t war criminals? Aren’t lawyers available who don’t deserve to be disbarred for writing memos justifying torture?

Isn’t it amazing then that his thoughts on Sonia Sotomayor should see the light of day? But then, we do have the American Enterprise Institute to thank for this. In his post at their blog yesterday, we learn that “President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor shows that empathy has won out over excellence in the White House. … Obama had some truly outstanding legal intellectuals and judges to choose from—Cass Sunstein, Elena Kagan, and Diane Wood come immediately to mind. The White House chose a judge distinguished from the other members of that list only by her race. Obama may say he wants to put someone on the Court with a rags-to-riches background, but locking in the political support of Hispanics must sit higher in his priorities. Sotomayor’s record on the bench, at first glance, appears undistinguished.”

My oh my. As Andrew Sullivan wrote yesterday, “This is the same man whose own legal memos were of such poor quality they forced an investigation from the Justice Department’s internal watchdog. How painful is it when they remove these people’s sense of shame?” Or as hilzoy noted today, after quoting other commentary on the selection of Sotomayor, “Of course, none of these responses really compares to John ‘No law can prevent the President from crushing the testicles of a terrorist’s child’ Yoo informing us of the real meaning of the Sotomayor nomination: that despite his best efforts, empathy has triumphed — and that this is a bad thing.”

Categories: Politics, Today's News

Stellar At Last

May 26, 2009 Leave a comment

stellar

Last December, the day after Christmas, I wrote a post about an outing Gail, Joel, and I took to the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. It came about because FedEx was days late with a delivery of Christmas presents, due to the snow, and I decided we would drive to their delivery center to pick up the packages. As I explained, going there would have an added bonus, because:

the FedEx facility, on Alaska Street just off Airport Way in Georgetown, was near Stellar Pizza. Georgetown, I should explain, is a commercial/industrial neighborhood south of downtown, along I-5 just above Boeing Field. I have had little reason to go there over the years. But two Augusts ago, I drove down to Stellar from work to join a party in honor of our carpenter and friend Bert, given by Toth Construction for his 10th anniversary with the firm. Almost the entire Toth crew were there, plus Gail, and eventually me. They had all but finished the many pizzas they were sharing, but there was a little for me. And I grabbed a menu to learn more about the place, thereby discovering their extremely tempting sandwiches. I’m always on the lookout for a great meatball hero, and this sure sounded good: “Open-faced hot hero, topped with marinara, parmesean cheese, Mama Lil’s kick-butt peppers, red onions, and mozzarella cheese on a demi-baguette.” Since Joel loves meatball heroes too, I figured it wouldn’t be long before we’d make the journey down there to try it.

Just as we were about to leave the house to get our packages, which I had arranged for FedEx to hold at their facility, a truck drove up with them. Saved. No need to stand on line forever only to learn that the boxes were out for delivery. But what about Stellar? We decided to go anyway, taking “local roads all the way south, through the snow and slush and mess, hitting Pioneer Square, driving past Qwest Field and Safeco Field, and then getting a tour of all the industrial enterprises along Airport Way. Finally, we came to the long viaduct that takes cars over the dozen or more train tracks, came down to ground level, and were at Stellar, squeezed in between the tracks and I-5. And it was closed. Closed December 24, 25, 26. Sigh.” We waited 17 months, and now we would have to wait still longer.

Well, here we are, five months later to the day, and for the first time since that disappointing day, we had business in Georgetown. Bert and Toth Construction are back in our lives, thanks to our latest remodel, just starting its third month. And we arranged to meet Todd, our architect, at Pental Granite & Marble in Georgetown this morning to look at slabs for our bathroom countertop. From Pental we went to another stone place nearby, and then back to Pental to make our final selection. We were done a little after 11, with Stellar nearby. We didn’t even realize how close we were. Three short blocks, then the far side of a small city park, and there it was, just the other side of the train tracks, squeezed between the tracks and Airport Way. They open at 11:00 and we weren’t even the first ones there for lunch. I looked at the menu to make sure the meatball sandwich was still there, which it was, and so I ordered it, with a side salad.

The verdict? Simple. It’s the best meatball sandwich I have ever had in Seattle. I’ve tried quite a few. None compare. Joel, I’m sorry you missed out. Come back home and we’ll go again.

Categories: Today's News

Suu Kyi Arrested

May 14, 2009 Leave a comment

suukyi

I would have missed this article in the back of the World section of today’s NYT had the New Yorker’s George Packer not posted a note about the issue at his blog today. The gist of the story is that Aung San Suu Kyi, the winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, has been arrested, thanks to the bizarre behavior of an American named John William Yettaw, who swam across a lake to the Kyi’s home, where she is under house arrest, eluded guards, and insisted that she let him in. She pleaded with him to leave, so she would not be in violation of the terms of her house arrest, but he insisted on coming in, and spent the night. He was picked up the next day as he was swimming back across the lake, and now she has been arrested, just weeks before her house arrest was supposed to come to an end.

George Packer is as familiar as any American journalist with life in Burma today. He visited last June and wrote a superb piece in last August about the trip. Here’s what he wrote today about the incident and Suu Kyi’s arrest:
Read more…

Categories: Today's News