Monthly Archives: December 2009

An unusual definition of “worked”

We’re in bizarro world. Homeland Security head says the system “worked”, referring to a man who boarded a plane with a bomb.

So, security “worked” when a man gets on a plane with a bomb, the bomb malfunctions, and he is subdued by passengers.  Passengers,  by the way, who will no longer be allowed to get out of their seats an hour prior to landing.

How do these people end up in charge of anything?


The Ravens don’t deserve to be in the playoffs after losing 23-20 to the Steelers. They had 11 points come off the board due to penalties, and gave up 11 penalties for 113 yards. The defense had the game under control, but the undisciplined play cost them a close game. Again.

There’s still playoff hope with Miami and Jacksonville losses (I need to root for Indianapolis again against the Jets), but they are not a playoff caliber team; playoff teams don’t give games away.

Real Resolution

It’s December 26, and we’re all just winding down from the holiday; many of us have another short (or no) work week in front of us. Lots of folks take this time to do planning and goal setting for the new year. Perhaps they ‘make resolutions.’

I have a challenge for everyone. Today, take one of those things, one thing on your list of things to do or start in 2010, and do it. Now.

Planning to start a diet next year to lose some weight? Why wait? Start today. If you’ve got a party on New Year’s Eve, go and enjoy it! You’ll still be a week ahead of the game. Want to start hitting the gym in the new year? Why wait?! Go today and sign up and get started.

Want to sign up for a class, or start saving more money, quit smoking, or buy that pair of shoes? Do it today. There’s nothing special about next weekend, other than a number on a calendar.

Dorothy and John say goodbye

Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher have written their last column for the Wall Street Journal.

They were my earliest and biggest influence when it comes to discovering wine.  They had a significant impact on not only what I drink, but how I enjoy life; the first people telling readers to trust their own palates.  I don’t know if they know how much good they brought to the readers of the WSJ, but I am grateful and wish them nothing but the best.

Here’s the bottom line: Wine isn’t a spectator sport. It’s utterly intimate. Don’t let anyone tell you what you should like, including us. Try wines broadly—there have never been so many good ones, at all prices, on shelves—and keep raising your personal bar for what is truly memorable, so that you are always looking for the next wine that will touch your soul and make you feel you’ve gone someplace you’ve never been before. It’s not about delicious wines. It’s about delicious experiences. May your life be filled with them.

Hopefully for their readers, they will still write about wine, just somewhere else.  I hear this internet thing is taking off.

Crossposted at The Grand Crew

Wine Tip

Buy this wine:  2007 Domaine de la Charbonnière Vacqueyras

There’s a bunch of buzz about the 2007 Southern Rhones.  Certainly Gary Vaynerchuk thinks highly of the 2007 Chateauneuf de Papes, but they can get pretty expensive pretty quickly.

Our good friends at Bin 604 recommended this wine for us while we were discussing the ’07 vintage as a solid value play, something that is very drinkable now, but is solid enough to lay down for up to 15 years.  As budding oenophiles, J and I are trying to learn more about vintage and place, as well as starting to build a cellar that is more than just the ‘case of the month’ plus some one off purchases.  We’d like to at least build a collection deep enough to always, or almost always, have the right wine for the food or the occasion.

Anyway…  tasted this with dinner the other night:  FANTASTIC.  Great young fruit now, some pepper, and solid tannins, but not too much.  It’s drinking very well now, and to my limited palate, it seems it could only get better with some years.  At about $29 without a case discount, this is worth a go.  We’re going to buy a case this weekend, along with a more expensive 2007 to see how the value stands up.

An Atmosphere of Innovation

Excellent Reason.TV vid on some of my favorite things – Wine, Freedom, and Entrepreneurship.

BTW, I met Mike Grgich a couple of years ago in Napa, a wonderful and engaging man who lives for people to enjoy his wine.

Too Soon

Micheal Vick wins the Eagles Ed Block Courage Award.

I’m all for a second chance, and by all accounts, he’s doing all the right things.  He’s done his time.

But it’s too soon.  If you want to blame someone, though, blame the Eagles players.  They (unanimously) voted for him.  I think that tells us more about them as it does anything about Vick or about the award.

If anyone with any sense is giving Vick advice, they need to tell him to be humble, and turn the award down.  Maybe next year.

Clean it up yourself, Arnold

California got itself into this mess, California should get itself out.  I shouldn’t have to (yet again) pay for someone elses’ poor decisions, and neither should you.

Facing a budget deficit of more than $20 billion, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to call for deep reductions in already suffering local mass transit programs, renew his push to expand oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast and appeal to Washington for billions of dollars in federal help, according to state officials and lobbyists familiar with the plan.

If Washington does not provide roughly $8 billion in new aid for the state, the governor threatens to severely cut back — if not eliminate — CalWORKS, the state’s main welfare program; the In-Home Health Care Services program for the disabled and elderly poor, and two tax breaks for large corporations recently approved by the Legislature, the officials said.

Then cut them.  Y’all wanted your big government utopia, you got it, and now you want another big government to come bail you out because it didn’t actually work.  If it worked, there would be no poor people in California.

The governor and lawmakers have already had to close shortfalls this year totaling $60 billion, as tax revenues plummeted at rates not seen in California since the Great Depression. Amid the continuing budget crisis, the state ran short of cash needed to cover its bills and was forced to issue IOUs over the summer.

Activists were particularly alarmed by the potential cuts to social service programs, which have taken big hits recently.

“Families are struggling, we have an incredibly high unemployment rate, and we can’t afford to cut these programs any more,” said Nancy Berlin, director of California Partnership, a statewide coalition of advocates for the poor based in Los Angeles. “Sacramento has got to pull it together and find another way out of this. They can’t take more from low-income families. If they do, we will find more people on the streets.”

Take more?  No, what you are asking is to take more from me.  I didn’t have anything to do with the failure in California.

A Reminder

Republicans aren’t any better about being hypocrites than Democrats, and they all love the state, they just disagree on how to (ab)use it’s power.

According to the organization’s records, Bachmann’s family farm received $251,973 in federal subsidies between 1995 and 2006. The farm had been managed by Bachmann’s recently deceased father-in-law and took in roughly $20,000 in 2006 and $28,000 in 2005, with the bulk of the subsidies going to dairy and corn. Both dairy and corn are heavily subsidized—or “socialized”—businesses in America (in 2005 alone, Washington spent $4.8 billion propping up corn prices) and are subject to strict government price controls. These subsidies are at the heart of America’s bizarre planned agricultural economy and as far away from Michele Bachmann’s free-market dream world as Cuba’s free medical system.


Chuck Grassley, the longtime Republican senator from Iowa who warns his constituents of Obama’s “trend toward socialism,” has seen his family collect $1 million in federal handouts over an 11-year period, with Grassley’s son receiving $699,248 and the senator himself pocketing $238,974. Even Grassley’s grandson is learning to ride through life on training wheels, snagging $5,964 in 2005 and $2,363 in 2006. In the Grassley family they learn early how to enjoy other people’s money.

They conclude, more or less rightfully

Farm subsidies have become so corrupt that payments sometimes go to dead people for years. Federal farm subsidies, which were originally meant to help struggling farmers survive, are now little more than taxpayer robbery, taking taxpayer wealth from working Americans and sending it to the have-mores. According to 11 years’ worth of Environmental Working Group data that tracks $200 billion in subsidies, the wealthiest 10 percent of “farmers” have collected 75 percent of the money. That’s exactly the kind of socialism that Rep. Bachmann and her elite ilk like.

The lesson here isn’t that we should be doing more of this to help “the poor”, it is that no matter which of the two major parties, they are all in this for power and to get their hands on your stuff so they can give it to someone they decide is more deserving.  Because they can.  The only way to eliminate this behavior on both sides is to take the power of redistribution away from all of them; not as this article seems to suggest, give them even more power.

Yet voters keep thinking if only they could get the right guy in office, there will be Change ™.  Looks like folks are starting to figure out that’s not so.

Hat tip to Hit and Run

Financial Planning for ObamaCare

Scott Gottlieb at AEI thinks only the very rich will be able to buy their way out of ObamaCare.

The very rich, of course, will be able to buy their way out of ObamaCare. Many of the best doctors will go cash only, opting entirely out of the Obama program, to cater to a wealthy clientele. But only the truly affluent will have the cash to escape.

The vast rest of us will be locked inside the new system–stuck with the same collection of government-decreed medical benefits.

The only reason I’m not going nuts:  I fully plan to be in the group who can afford to buy our way out.  My financial planning now includes putting money aside to pay for my own healthcare.  I do not want to ever have to rely on the government to take care of me.

I suggest you do the same.

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