The Wednesday Curator – 6/17/15

June 17, 2015

In this political season my thoughts return often to my Congressman from 1961 until 1991, Morris K. Udall. Congressman Udall aka Mo was the best, bar none. (I worked my tail off for him in the Wisconsin primary election in 1976, where he ran second to James Earl Carter, Jr.) I thought of him today because he liked to tell a joke on himself—truth be told, he told jokes on himself constantly—about introducing himself to two New Hampshire codgers as “Mo Udall, running for president,” to which one of them responded, “we were just laughing about that.” The joke came to mind because we had a real reason to laugh today, as self-aggrandizing, selfish, spoiled, and stupid Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States. Ds laugh; Rs weep!

Carly Fiorina Shows Us Just How Weird America’s Tax System Is, written by Josh Barro for the New York Times on June 12, 2015, shares the story of state taxes, when people have income-producing assets in several states. No one should cry about Ms. Fiorina, another candidate for the republican nomination for POTUS. (No one should laugh either, except for the fact that if Ms. Fiorina had not led Hewlett-Packard for several years she would not be running for president. And her record with H-P? Not good.)

Apropos of state taxes and lack of coordination, I heard Israel Bringing Its Years of Desalination Experience to California on NPR on Sunday, June 14. Big takeaway? When Avrahm Tenne, head of desalination for the Israel Water Authority, said: “There is no central management of the water sector in the United States — not even states! Nobody is responsible for the water sector.”* One of the challenges we face as a country is our culture of independence, as it bumps up against increasing evidence throughout our society and our economy that a “do what you want” culture is costly.

David Zweig wrote The facts vs. David Brooks: Startling inaccuracies raise questions about his latest book for Salon on June 15. Taking down David Brooks is tough. He’s a sweet Jewish boy, and hard not to like. Still, Mr. Zweig does a first-rate take down, demonstrating very sloppy fact-checking.

(I welcome thoughts on the Brooks issue. I suspect most people believe Mr. Zweig was needlessly harsh, and I suspect that view has little or nothing to do with Mr. Brooks’ apparent appeal. I come down on Mr. Zweig’s side. Mr. Brooks has the resources to get it right, and even though he writes for a popular audience, we should expect that if he references a poll, it’s a real poll, and not some agglomeration of this, that, and the other.)

Maude is a small, tasting-menu place in Beverly Hills. Its conceit? One special ingredient, each month. For June the ingredient is Hass avocados. Kathy Chaplin for wrote a fine review. Here’s a picture of the fourth plate, Jamon iberico, cantaloupe and honey dew, and a wafer of avocado “toast.”


Yet another seafood house—Catch and Release, except Not—has opened in the LA area. Here’s the Kevin Hsu report for

*Because I have mentioned sloppy fact-checking by David Brooks, I need to note the fact that the audio of the NPR story does not match the quote, which was taken from the NPR story. Alas, Mr. Tenne sounds like your average Israeli male—almost incomprehensible, speaking English—so I could not quote him from the audio.


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