Press the Press
The Evening News opens with 'Good Evening' then proceeds to tell us why it isn't.
Have you ever seen a news program open with a happy story?
One of those heart warming stories they always save till the last minute,
so when they sign off you think twice about committing suicide?
We need to press the press to rearrange the headlines;
Refocus on what is great about freedom
About those that preserve and protect it
And tell the positive stories
Of which there are millions
And put the bad guys and their mayhem
On the back page
Behind the classifieds
in a size 8 font….
The Mean New Deal
Whenever the Democrats feel a disconnect with voters, or when one of their initiatives fails to gain traction (i.e., the election of Queen Hillary or the destruction of Brett Kavanagh) they always come back with some gargantuan new social justice proposal, designed to steal any sunlight the Republicans may have garnered.
With Donald Trump in the White House, Democrats have had to dream up a series of New Deals because every time they turn around, he is standing in their limelight. There hasn't been anyone as good at hogging the limelight since PT Barnum.
So now some of the most zealous Progressives have rolled out the Green New Deal. Obviously the term New Deal is supposed to capture some of the charm and positive connotations of President Roosevelt's 1933 economic recovery act that was designed to reignite the nearly destitute state of affairs following the Great Depression.
Part of the strategy of the sponsoring House Democrats (lead by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) is to imply that the current US economy is in a great depression under Donald Trump, and of course we already know, that without immediate "Chicken Little the Sky Is Falling" drastic action, the world as we know it will end in 12 years. That only white rich people are enjoying the booming stock market, the tremendous resurgence in employment for all Americans, and an increasing sense that the country is moving in the right direction again.
To obscure the fact that many manufacturers are moving production back onshore after years of flight to low wage third-world countries, Progressives are saying a Green New Deal will overcome the unfairness and miscarriage of justice that Trump's economic programs have established at the expense of blacks, women and illegal immigrants.
As I have said over and over, Progressivism is just a mitigating term for neo-communism. And the Green New Deal is just an Orwellian term for wrapping environmentalism and collectivist economic extremism into a Mao-style cultural revolution bent on destroying Trump's Americanism movement.
Since taking office, Trump has made it his priority to undo all of Obama's regulations and incentives for institutionalizing climate change and disengaging from unfair and impractical trade agreements. He has asserted these American-centric policies would immediately free up investment and momentum, and return billions of offshore profits to the American economy. And that alone has outraged environmentalists and Progressive leaders who are bent on purging America of what they consider a dependence on fossil fuels, on economic principles of capitalism and on white male privilege.
But just like Mao's collectivist policies that were responsible for the greatest famine in human history, starving nearly forty million Chinese citizens to death, the latest Progressive proposal would destroy America's position of world leadership. It would essentially send us back to the dark ages: The Green New Deal would outlaw air travel, guarantee wages and jobs and provide basic income even for those who refuse to work. It would force displaced 'workers' into re-education/training programs, and then embark on a massive reconstruction and remodeling job on all levels of industry and private life that had previously relied on fossil fuels. It would by necessity, replace free enterprise with government central planning.
Just as Mao called his consolidation of power The Great Leap Forward, Progressives say the Green New Deal will be our own Great Leap Forward.
The problem with all this 'theory' is that reality and theory have no intersection. Putting all of these goals into a 12 year target ignores the fact that the human race could not supply its food or energy needs without fossil fuels no matter how quickly we develop wind, solar, water, or other energy sources. Leftists conveniently forget that none of those forms of energy can be captured and stored efficiently, so the production has to be at the time and location it is needed. If wind power could be stored and shipped around the world, we could load up the North and South poles with windmills and be done with it.
Studies show that our world will be somewhat dependent on fossil fuels for at least another 50 years, unless science invents something unforeseen. This is because the sheer volume of source materials required to drive the engines of production needed to farm, to heat, to move and to feed people across the planet cannot be met with renewables alone.
Besides, science and industry are quickly moving us all in that direction anyway.
Sadly, Progressives are never satisfied with the status quo. Why? Because that would deny them the vehicle they need to acquire political power (not electrical power). Only when large numbers of people are scared and agitated can they lasso them into a political force that gives them the legislative power needed to keep their globalist, one-world government dreamteam aristocracy in place and to redistribute wealth to keep their constituents satiated. And that is not a slam on poor people. Democrats are increasingly made up of well-paid government employees, and they need to grow their share of the public pie.
Just like Mao did when he used a misnomer to rename China The People's 'Republic' of China, Progressives masquerade themselves with social justice issues. But ultimately many of their most loyal supporters eventually get thrown under the bus of 'Progress.' Many of those identified as the beneficiaries of cheaper energy, new jobs and a more egalitarian culture, will find themselves once again victimized by confiscatory government policies, loss of freedoms and incentives, and a race to the lowest common denominator.
That's why the Democrats new social elixir is not a Green New Deal, it is in reality a Mean New Deal.
The Death of Dining
As a cultural observer I think it my duty to comment on the restaurant industry and how much of it has gone off the rails. After all, going out to dinner has always been a pleasurable and available source of entertainment. Though it has evolved into a different experience in the last fifty years, it still offers a couple of hours of relaxation, dining and social lubrication.
I guess we need to agree on the definition of relaxation first. Because my most recent 'dining' experiences have been atrocious. Maybe I have a different perspective than the 24 - 44 year-olds I assume most restaurant chains are pursuing. Maybe I am living in the past. But I still find it hard to understand how the marketing geniuses at some of America's largest restaurant organizations can mess up such a simple pleasure.
For decades I have enjoyed the 'go out to dinner and a movie' evening immensely. That, however is different than a dining experience. Even better, in my mind, is the late dinner dining experience with my wife and maybe another couple. By that I mean, arriving at the restaurant at 7PM and staying until 10. This involves some cocktails, some hors d'oeuvres and then a slow-dining main dish, followed by desert and a snifter of brandy.
That experience is what I call dining. In 2019 it will probably cost me at least $100 per person. Because you aren't going to get that kind of meal, that kind of tempo at a chain restaurant. It will only come from a branded, local chef-driven establishment. Sure there are high-end chains like Morton's that offer great food, great wine and attentive service too. But they are also guilty of what I call Menu Pandering. They want to offer something for everybody, so the menu is too complicated and bifurcated. When the waiter approaches to take our orders, I feel like I am in line at the auto repair shop. The service order technician is holding a clipboard checklist, asking me what is wrong with my car. He then goes down the list, repeating the assembly of my diner, just to make sure he has everything correct. Whew, I feel like I just went through a driver license renewal test at the DMV! A minute later, I probably won't remember what I ordered!
For me, I would prefer a one page list of Today's Chef's Choice Dinner Plates. One beef, one chicken, one pasta, one seafood, and one casserole specialty. Each entry is something special the Chef made up just for tonight. Each comes with the Chef's selection of complimentary side dishes, and a choice of soup or salad. That's it! I point at the one I want and return to the conversation the waiter interrupted.
I like surprises when it comes to great food. I want something I can't make at home, otherwise I don't need to get dressed up and drive across town to get fed. Over the years I have discovered which Chef's culinary tastes suit my palate. I become loyal to them, and them to me. I have had more than one occasion when I was particularly unhappy with a dish. Maybe it was cold or undercooked. I tell my waiter and without hesitation my meal is immediately replaced. The establishment has skin in my game, just as I do in theirs.
Recently I went to a well-known Australian steakhouse chain that had just opened a new location near me. I was kind of excited to see what they were up to, because the brand has grown exponentially in the past decade.
What a disappointment! The motif was nearly identical to a dozen other Millennial-oriented, Asian-Feng Shui Mid-American Modern interiors. A big room divided only by short railings. Soft indirect lighting reflected by dark woods and black moldings and window frames. High ceilings with industrial looking hanging lamps make reading the complicated, four-page menus nearly impossible without cell phone flashlights. The menu is a six-ring circus of main entries which must be completed by adding side dishes. The copy is printed in a 8 point font in grey ink. Unbelievably stupid!
The truth is I know what is going on. Many chains are pandering to the Millenial compunction to demand hundreds of choices about everything! Even when you order water, the waiter has a list of types he has to explain. It is all part of the Digital Revolution, the ability to access millions of gigabits of whatever at any given second. So now we have to be buried in data everytime we ask for help.
I don't want to think that hard when I am going out to diner.
Beyond that major complaint, I was also uncomfortable the whole time. My wooden chair was no better than a bus stop bench. The sound system was blaring unintelligible, and overwhelming music. I wondered, are they making it so loud to force us all to yell at each other across the table just to give us, and those next to us, some privacy? Because without the blanket of noise enveloping the room, it would be impossible to have any privacy because there are no dividers among the table and chairs. I assume that design principle is simply to allow for more tables and chairs, so the opportunity to turn them more often is increased exponentially.
I'll take overstuffed, leather booths anyday!
Then after we finished our mostly mediocre food (served on some hybrid plastic tableware) the waiter placed a computer monitor on our table and said we could check ourselves out...WTF? I don't care about their convenience, I want to be waited on! Let them do the math, ring up the sale and give me a receipt. I am not going to do their job!
This steakhouse is virtually identical to the cowboy themed steakhouse experience I had just last month. The only difference was the theme. But I have visited enough of these now to recognize the homogenization of the chain restaurant marketing direction. One I have no affinity for.
I guess this attitude of "serve yourself by technology' has seeped into all aspects of our lives, at fast food and hotel lobbies, at the bank, even at the post office. But I refuse to accept such a disrespectful approach to my dining experience. I will just have to look for one of a vanishing breed of restaurateurs, because far too many have subscribed to a new format, The Death of Dining.