The word “Cuba” is said to be derived from the Taino language word “cubao” one of whose meanings is “where fertile land is abundant” . And it looks like there’s plenty of fertile land. And yet, we had been told often that Cuba imports 80 percent of its food. We stopped for lunch at a small restaurant on the harbor in Bacuranao where Hemingway used to dock his boat. After a very good lunch of fish (imported from Venezuela it turned out) and black beans and rice and the local beer called Bucanero (“Pirate”), several of us wandered down for a closer look. Nice harbor, but no boats. Well, maybe one or two small row boats.
The Supreme Court is important. Washington insiders and journalists refer to it as SCOTUS, which stands for Supreme Court of the US. This importance is clear to anyone who reads the newspapers or the political blogs or listens to the news or watches the news or even just sits around in sweat pants, blandly existing, bothering no one, and doing the crossword puzzle. It is particularly important in the Political World, a semi-mythical place where battles are fought, prizes won and lost and reason hardly ever carries the day. It is clear that there is now a vacancy among the nine justices that make up the Supreme Court and that the inclinations of the eight remaining justices are such that the court is split in half, half being good guys and half being bad guys, and that the choice and confirmation of a ninth justice is a very big deal. And one that outlasts any particular Presidency since these people serve for life. I suspect they can be impeached for bad behavior but I am not even sure of that. Continue reading
I am part of an informal group of skiing enthusiasts. We meet once a year for four days, all at US venues in the west with challenging terrain for the serious skiers and nice hotels for the less dedicated. We all went to Yale and graduated in 1966, so if you do the math you will find that all of us have long since become eligible for social security, but none of us admit to taking the money. We also eat and drink and brag about our health and our children and our jobs. It used to be the reverse order, which is why I never go to reunions where there’s no physical activity and lots more bragging. But time changes things, and now at these annual gatherings there is, as one classmate beautifully put it, “less show of plumage.” Continue reading
Suppose that you are a ruthless drug lord, even a diminutive one, running a completely illegal billion dollar a year commercial operation that sources drugs in central America, processes them, and then arranges to smuggle them across the border to the apparently infinite US market. Since everything that you do in your business is outside the law, you have to live by a different set of business practices—you have to intimidate, harm or kill people who let you down, who try to compete with you, who violate agreements with you or fail to act as promised. No taking them to civil court and suing for specific performance. No use of the rules of the American Arbitration Association. Continue reading
It seems a bit strange, I will admit, to sit here writing about water shortages and droughts and rationing while my roof is leaking in two places, into a carefully positioned large blue bucket and a smaller yellow one. And the news is full of forecasts of the coming torrents of rain that El Niño will bring us — not that we’ve seen very much of it yet here in San Diego. Continue reading
I love the Wall Street Journal, I really do. I read it every day, all the sections. It’s really the only “national” newspaper we have that isn’t a joke. The New York Times is still too local and doesn’t have enough business news, plus it wears its politics not only on its sleeve, but on both sleeves and on its shirtfront as well. USA Today qualifies in the “joke” category. The Washington Post is a mere ghost of its former self. And I read the Wall Street Journal because by and large the articles are pretty factual and don’t seem biased, at least on the surface. Continue reading
Let’s first make two simplifying assumptions: first, you have, through personal responsibility or choosing the right work situation or just darn good luck, accumulated sufficient financial resources to continue to do the things and live in the style that you lived in the day before you retired. You’re not suddenly wealthy or suddenly poverty stricken. If you are suddenly wealthy, then stop reading this and good luck to you, you fortunate SOB. Send me your contact information. Continue reading
When I was in high school in Alexandria, Virginia, the football players were gods. It didn’t matter that the football team was terrible. It didn’t matter that we had the stupidest name for a football team ever. The school was “George Washington High School,” and thus our teams were named, unfortunately, the Presidents. Even more unfortunately, this was shortened during cheers to “Prexies.” No one was quite sure what a “prexie” was — a small pretzel, perhaps? Evidence of skin disease? But no matter, to be on the varsity football team and get a big, hulky letter jacket to wear around the school was really cool. By the way, none of the other sports got jackets like these.
Much has been written, a good deal of it on the front page of the San Diego Union Tribune and some even in the review section of the New York Times about California’s four-year drought, the shortages it will cause, and what to do about it. Much of it is not particularly sensible. But they’re only reporting what the policy makers have determined. Continue reading