Sunday, February 19, 2017

Whip Obamacare now!

The weeks since inauguration day are the longest period that Congress has failed to vote to repeal Obamacare.

Just sayin'.

The Times reports:

As liberals overwhelm congressional town hall-style meetings and deluge the Capitol phone system with pleas to protect the health law, there is no similar clamor for dismantling it, Mr. Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment. From deeply conservative districts in the South and the West to the more moderate parts of the Northeast, Republicans in Congress say there is significantly less intensity among opponents of the law than when Mr. Obama was in office.
“I hear more concerns than before about ‘You’re going to repeal it, and we’re all going to lose insurance’ because they don’t think we’re going to replace it,” said Representative Mike Simpson, a Republican who represents a conservative district in Idaho.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Book Review 382: The House of Mondavi

THE HOUSE OF MONDAVI: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, by Julia Flynn Siler. 452 pages, illustrated. Gotham, $28

Despite being written in broken English, the outlines of the story are moderately interesting:

Young immigrants, Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, scrap around and end up in Lodi, California, dealing in fruit. Prohibition presents opportunity, since each household was permitted to make 200 gallons of wine a year.

The Mondavis do well shipping grapes East, and in 1943, they buy a formerly well known but decrepit winery, Charles Krug, in Napa Valley for $75,000.

It was the parents’ desire that their sons (but not their daughters) establish a wine business that would endure through generations.

The sons were superficially well-matched, Michael the impulsive salesman, committed to teaching Americans to drink good wine; Peter, the quiet tinkerer devoted to making better and better wine. In the event, though, they could not work in tandem and in the mid-‘60s Peter tried to squeeze Robert out of his inheritance. He failed, or did he?

Robert started the Robert Mondavi Winery, where he was credited with leading the revolution in America’s taste for boozing. And he had sons who seemed well suited to carrying on but were as antagonistic as their father and uncle.

For Julia Siler, this is strictly a family quarrel story and the rise of the Robert Mondavi Winery to become nearly a billion-dollar business is mostly an irritation. There isn’t a graph in the book, and statistics on production, income, sales volume, employment and acres controlled are scarce and scattered haphazardly throughout the chapters. There are precisely two uninformative sentences on labor, although the expansion of Mondavi coincided with the farm workers movement. We learn (in an endnote) that Krug, which remained under the control of Peter and his family, was unionized, which implies that Mondavi was not, but Siler never says.

Even after Robert Mondavi Corp. went public in 1994 and information becomes more easily available, Siler barely uses it. She is not indifferent to facts; she just has no idea about which are significant. We learn the street addresses of several law firms that advised various Mondavis, for example, and what fabrics Mondavian brides wore.

Within 10 years of tapping Wall Street’s keg of dollars, Robert and his family are out, their departure not sweetened by douceurs of  $60 million and up each, since the hopes of Rosa and Cesare are thwarted — except over at  Krug where Peter and his family have kept the family interest intact. But Siler has little interest in that side of the family.

“The House of Mondavi” is so badly organized and badly written that it is not worth anyone’s time.

Tactical blunder

I don't know who scheduled the time and place of the hoopla meeting for the development of the Maui High site at Hamakuapoko, but by making it at 4:30 at Paia Community Centee, he guaranteed that everyone coming from Kahului hit the Paia traffic jam.

From 2:30 on, the slowdown starts at Nonohe Place, or sometimes Kaunoa and I have even seen it start at Stable Road. Traveling west. I may be malihini but I am not damfool enough to drive east toward Paia in the afternoon.

That was a PR mistake but Mayor Arakawa's statement a couple days later was bizarre. He criticized the County Council for wanting to buy land at Peahi because it would cost $20 million to bring eletricity and water to a public park there.

First, parks don't need electricity or water. Oheo is one of the most popular parks in Hawaii and it has neither.

Second, and more important, if Hamakuapoko is developed, it will require an equal or grater amount to bring in water and electricity, but his administration is pushing that boondoogle.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Shotguns n Roses

I said I wasn't going to keep making fun of the gun nuts but this is too good to pass up.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Afternoon thé dansant of the Long Knives

RtO predicted a Night of the Long Knives, and soon, for the Trumpeters. And, lo! it occurs.

Only, typically for a Trump operation, it is tackier and sillier than the model, more of an Afternoon thé dansant of the Long Knives.

Don't thank me. RtO is in the business of stating the obvious, and nothing could be more obvious than this was. It goes with the concept of fuhrerprinzip: when all power resides in one man, the only way to get close to power is to knife whoever stands between you and the Dear Leader.

Thus, Priebus is also showing signs of a shiv in the ribs. And several others.

This situation also explains the ascendancy of the Kushners. A despot cannot trust anyone but family, although, as Trump will learn soon enough, not even them.

I am enjoying this immensely.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Buchi Emecheta has died

The Times reports that Buchi Emecheta has died.  She was, in my opinion, one of the finest writers of fiction in English of our time, both for style and story.

But I mention her career for the tenacity she displayed. The Times reports some of that but omits how she did it.

After leaving her husband, she set out to raise 5 children alone working menial jobs. She would arise at 4 a.m. to write each day, and kept this up for a long time.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Maui makes A

Or perhaps the US Tennis Association did it, on Maui. Either way, bad publicity.

About 40 years ago, I covered the first professional ice hockey game in Norfolk, Virginia, and the stadium played a recording of "God aSve the Queen." The players, who were mostly Canadians, almost fell off their skates laughing.

(For non-Hawaii readers, "no make A" is pidgen for "don't make a fool of yourself.")