Saturday, February 12, 2011


I don't know very much about Egypt. I know that the Camp David accords were bullshit. Egypt and Israel agreed to leave each other alone in return for weapons Israel needed to subdue its other neighbors and the Egyptian military its own population.

Egypt has a large population, most of whom are desperately poor. They have no education. They have no skills. Many Egyptians are made slaves in payment of their parent's debt. The idea that Egypt will ever be a democracy is ridiculous.

Perhaps they will achieve some basic freedoms of movement and expression. Maybe a few  hundred more calories a day in their diets. Every little bit helps.

The only real freedom longed for by most Egyptians with any real ambition is the freedom to escape the confines of Egypt, to the West, where the possibility of a real life awaits.

Monday, February 07, 2011

San Francisco

A week ago, my wife and I had our yearly jaunt to the City by the Bay. Best Winter weather I've ever seen in San Fransisco. Sunny and up into the 70s, every day. My wife went to Mac World. I got a cheap bus pass and enjoyed being out and about.

You can certainly see the city evolving into recession times over the last few years. There are fewer people in the city. Fewer street people, fewer workers, more foreign, ethnic enclaves. The buses used to be difficult during morning and evening rush hours. No more. Always seats available, no matter the hour. Plenty of elbow room on Market and Van Ness. No waiting for tables at restaurants, even the gyp joints at Fisherman's Wharf and North Beach, not that I'd ever eat there. Made for a nice, relaxing tourist experience. Here's a tip. Food's a little pricey there. The best cheap lunch in town is the In n Out Burger franchise at Fisherman's Wharf. Same prices as any other In n Out. No drive thru, counter service only with lots of eat in tables looking out over the Wharf. I'm sure it's maintained by the company as a promotional location because there are so many national and international visitors to San Francisco and they all eat at Fisherman's Wharf. Believe me, In n Out will be the best and most authentic food you get there these days. No fishermen work out of the Wharf anymore. All the seafood comes in frozen from Alaska, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Hotel rooms weren't as cheap this year. I think it's simply because management has given up on trying to lure non existent travelers in with cheap rates. The Hotel Carlton, is a very nice, rehabbed, 1920s era speakeasy, whorehouse and men's club, has 160 rooms and never more than a few dozen rented while we were there. I only saw two maids and they were moving at a very leisurely pace, never a problem getting an early check in or late check out. The desk clerk seemed eager to do both and begged us to return again next year, even though we were shameless, bottom feeding trollers from Priceline, paying little more than a third of their rack rate. I highly recommend the place, by the way, Room was clean. Nice linens and bathroom. Plenty of hot water pressure to the shower. No air conditioning but hardly necessary any time of the year in Frisco with big windows in the room and a ceiling fan. The walls are a little thin but with the place so uncrowded, it wasn't a problem. I paid $52 a night for a large room with two queen beds. Rack rates start at $139 for a single Queen, double occupancy. I was worried it might be a little out of the way, on the corner of Larkin and Sutter but turns out the entire center city is walking distance and frequent buses to everywhere within a block. Great neighborhood. Yemani ethnic enclave during the day and evening and a stroll for tranny hookers, late night. Very few street people. Good reasonable restaurants. Nice area.

I came down with a little virus the night we got home. Achey bones, chills and a little upper respiratory smut. At my age and general condition, you got to start worrying that it's really congestive heart failure from the exertion of hiking up and down steep hills. Didn't seem to be the case though, so I guess I'm still good to go for a while yet.

If you get the opportunity, visit San Francisco. It's a great place to visit. No place else quite like it in America.  Weather is nice. Lots to see and do. Cheap public transportation. Buy a visitor's bus pass, $20 for 3 days, $27 for a whole week and the bus drivers never check whether or not it's expired. You could probably buy one in January and use it the whole year, not that I would ever do that. Senior passes are only $20 a month. If you can convince them you're retarded or disabled they're almost free.

Fluffy Barry

So, did you see the State of the Union address a week or so ago. It was interesting I thought. Mostly an exercise in shifting blame, letting the new Congress know that if they wanted to cut government spending, they should have at it but emphasizing that domestic spending, which includes all those nasty entitlements to the young, old, poor and disadvantaged comprise only about 12% of the Federal budget.

I'm not a big fan of Obama's administration, so far. We're still spending huge money on foreign war  and more money by multiples than the rest of the World combined on National defense. The wealthy and corporate sectors of the nation's economy have a greater percentage of the wealth, among fewer people, than in any other nation, at any time, in the World's history. As far as I can see, Obama is simply letting them rape the rest of us, not that this is any great departure from any other President in living memory. I have to admit, he looks very cool and stylish doing it.

Yesterday was the Superbowl. Before the game, Barry let Bill O'Reilly interview him live at the White house, also a very fluffy experience for him. Barry never let himself get ruffled or pinned down. He may not have answered many of the questions directly but that's nothing new, especially compared with his recent Republican predecessors. The important thing, in this interview, as well as the State of the Union address, was that he never let himself appear stupid, mean or angry. Given the rampant ignorance and punishing rage that the Republican opposition has been caught up in since he was elected, that's all he has to do to appear superlatively in charge of himself and the national situation.

I believe that this sunny, self control, however shallow and non reality based, will be the dominating feature of his 2012 re election campaign.

It will likely be enough to get him re elected easily. It's not going to win him a lot of new votes. I think probably fully 40% of the American electorate will end up hating him more than any other modern President. There may well be whole geographic regions of the country that will want to secede. They will continue to believe that he is an, alien, Islamic, mudman, Manchurian Candidate. I say fine, let them go. In fact, America might be better off as four or five different countries. Only time will tell. I don't think anybody is willing to have another Civil War to keep the country together. I think the country would break up in interesting and surprising ways. I think Western States would band together based more on mutual interest than stupid Blue/Red State social, religious and economic philosophies.

What do you think of Barry? Would you rather have Michelle Bachmann as President?