London—The Prequel and My First Day

May 15, 2017

London—The Prequel and My First Day

I learned something when I wrote this post: The United Kingdom includes Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Great Britain includes England, Scotland, and Wales. So, I’m writing about my visit to the U.K. although, in fact, I never left England.*

My trip came together pretty quickly. My GF, LB, planned a solo trip. Still, she graciously agreed to let me accompany her for a chunk of her holiday. She went ahead, to places on the Continent. We met up in London a few days after my arrival, and we returned home together.

I flew to London on British Airways, non-stop from Phoenix. People have been raving about this flight to me for years.

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Mother’s Day and Rochelle Rubin

May 14, 2017

Mother’s Day and Rochelle Rubin

I’ve been quietly and lightly dreading this day for a while. Quietly, both because I’ve been on holiday—Yanks, that means vacation in, at least, Europe and the British Isles—and because dwelling on the matter hardly honors my “get on with it” mom. And lightly? For the same reasons.

So I got up early today, with lots to do before I return to work after being out of the office for 10 days. Plenty of busy also keeps the mind occupied. (As for jet lag, I saw a friend at Whole Foods an hour ago. “I thought you were in London,” says he. “Back since yesterday afternoon,” I shared. Surprised, was he.)

Without conscious effort, my

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More on Health Care … and We v. Me-I

May 5, 2017

More on Health Care … and We v. Me-I

I got into it with a guy I don’t know the other evening on Facebook about Obamacare. (We have a few mutual friends.) I shouldn’t have, but I do so many things I shouldn’t; falling into an FB encounter of the less than kind sort falls outside my top 10.

A mutual friend posted about her insurance frustrations. This fellow labeled himself—Conservative—and expressed his “HOPE [that] the GOP does not screw this up,” referring to House passage of the bill on Tuesday. I wrote:

They already have. The insurance markets don’t like uncertainty, and this crew just created a boatload of it earlier today.

He went off on Obamacare. (Non-sequitur.) I

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Mo Brooks, TRUMPcare, and the Big Eff You

May 3, 2017

Mo Brooks, TRUMPcare, and the Big Eff You

Representative Morris Jackson Brooks, Jr. (R-Ala.), aka Mo Brooks, offered up more stupid on health care the other day. Defending and advocating for Trumpcare—I assume the president likes the appellation, and likes it better when he sees TRUMPcare—Congressman Brooks said:

It will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.

So what’s going

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Proposition 101: Tucson Sales Tax Increase

May 1, 2017

Proposition 101: Tucson Sales Tax Increase

Tucson has an election coming soon, on May 16, 2017. Voters will decide whether they want to increase the city sales tax by ½ of one percent to pay for road maintenance and public safety. Here’s a link with details, courtesy of Ballotpedia. Here’s the key takeaway regarding the spending plans:

Proposition 101 increases the sales tax by an additional 1/2 percent between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2022. The 0.5 percent tax would bring in an estimated $250 million over the five years.

Of the revenue raised by the 0.5 percent sales tax, 60 percent would be deposited into a Public Safety Improvements Fund and 40 percent would be deposited

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The First 100 Days: Some Thoughts (Part 1 of 2)

April 29, 2017

The first 100 days of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States came and went today.* For smart, take-no-prisoners analysis from the absolutely terrific Editor-in-Chief of the New Yorker, David Remnick, read A Hundred Days of Trump. And for an “outside the box,” kinda-sorta view, read Andrew Sullivan’s piece for New York magazine, Maybe America Wasn’t Crazy to Elect Donald Trump.

I have a somewhat different take. Mr. Trump correctly notes the fact that 100 days mean nothing, really. And the fact that he made the 100 days a big deal several times (before he realized he has accomplished zippo), and can’t decide which side of the line he wants to be on—both, as usual, seems

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Only Give Trump So Much Attention

April 27, 2017

Only Give Trump So Much Attention

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” — Atticus Finch, from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

President Barack Obama shared “fellow American” Atticus Finch’s words in his farewell address on January 10. He used them to tell us our hearts must change. “For blacks and other minority groups,” he said, “it means tying our own very real struggles for justice to the challenges that a lot of people in this country face—not only the refugee, or the immigrant, or the rural poor, or the transgender American, but also the middle-aged white

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Capitalism and Fantasies

April 26, 2017

Capitalism and Fantasies

Stay tuned soon for a report on my visit to Rochester New York, to see Cate Rubin and her boyfriend, Zack Tennies. I’d be on the trip, and the fine food my daughter and SO Zack shared with me, but sharing from phone to computer to blog post takes time. Alas, I am a mere 10 days away from my first trip to a place off this continent and its ambient islands.

I will be in London, Bath, and Oxford from May 5 through May 12. After contributing to several trips to Europe for Cate and her mom, I’m more than a wee bit excited about going myself. (Ya, ya, I know GB has started to exit

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Passover in 2017 / 5776

April 22, 2017

Passover in 2017 / 5776

My Personal Passover

Passover passed several days ago, on April 18 at sundown. Eight days earlier, on Monday, April 10, it started.

Passover came freighted with emotion this year. No Rochelle Rubin, and no Hirsches, as our dear friend Bob was only two days gone. And we dined at my mom and Irwin’s home, and used my grandmother’s china.

Sadness aside, our Seder offered its moments. We welcome strangers at Passover: Tucson newbies joined us, as well as close friends for whom Passover represents a cross-cultural opportunity. (With respect for Biblical dictates, “new friends” feels more positive and uplifting than “strangers.”)

There were also flat out misses. We had to kindle the Passover lights in

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Sean Spicer: the Hitler and al-Assad Comparison

April 12, 2017

Sean Spicer: the Hitler and al-Assad Comparison

Sean Spicer doesn’t know from Godwin’s Law, more or less. (Godwin’s Law, in its truest form? The longer a discussion lasts on the Internet, the more likely it is that someone will compare someone to Adolph Hitler. Shorter version? By the time you bring up Hitler, you should have shut up already.)

Washington Post reporters Jenna Johnson and Ashley Parker wrote Spicer Apologizes after Receiving Sharp Criticism for Saying Hitler Didn’t Use Chemical Weapons on Tuesday, April 11. (Sean Spicer will rue this day for the rest of his life, one hopes.) Mr. Spicer suggested that Bashar al-Assad was somehow worse than Mr. Hitler because he—Mr. Hitler—did not use chemical weapons

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