Areas of Unrest
21 January 2001 - Who Wants To Be a White House Advisor?
QOTD: "The Deity cannot alter the past, but historians can and do; perhaps that is why He allows them to exist." - Samuel Butler
Reading: Gail Farrelly, Duped By Derivatives
Listening to: the original cast recording of The Apple Tree
I spent all week in Boulder, kicking off what appears to be another cycle of constant business travel. Which means a hearty dose of real winter. For example, there were seven inches of snow on Tuesday. On the plus side, the Boulder restaurant scene continues to be interesting. In addition to a couple of old favorites (Zolo for ahi, followed by honey-chipotle ice cream, and The Royal Peacock for Indian food), we had an excellent dinner at a new Spanish restaurant, Triana. We all ordered tapas to share, the best of which was seared spinach with pine nuts and mandarin orange slices. My main course was cod, with nicely earthy porcini mushrooms and delicious potato dumplings. I was far too full for dessert, but they did good coffee, too.
I spent most of the weekend doing housework (decluttering continues, with another stack of paper conquered!) but did drag myself out of the house today to do the year-round Volksmarch event in Huntington Beach. (Year-rounds are self-guided walks. You pick up the map and instructions at a local business and mail in your event start card and a check for the fee.) One of the things I like about walking is that I notice things I'd never see if I were driving through an area. The beachfront in Huntington Beach is pretty standard beachfront, with a particular abundance of surfers. But the residential streets offered up a plethora of house flags, many of them full of local civic pride with the "Huntington Beach, Surf City" logo. Even better were the painted mailboxes here and there and the numerous house numbers on the curbs that were surrounded by little painted nautical scenes, e.g. dolphins or sailboats. One house even had a topiary doplin in the front yard.
On a more serious note, I've been interested in what people have been saying about the inauguration. And, frankly, I think there's a lot of overreaction going on. While I am unhappy about how the "statistically too close to call" election was handled and I am inclined to sing along with those who have changed the title of the presidential theme song to "Hail to the Thief," this is hardly the end of life as we know it. We've survived presidential ineptitude and extremism of all sorts in the past. John Ashcroft may have scary personal beliefs, but I think he could be capable of applying the law despite them. The question is whether he has sufficient integrity to follow laws he disagrees with. I don't know the answer to that, but it is possible. Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop was regarded as a right wing extremist, too, but was able to put aside his own beliefs when it came time to consider medical policy, with respect to both abortion and AIDS.
While I'm on the subject of the cabinet, I am disappointed that Gale Norton was let off lightly in the questioning. Her strong states' rights positions don't bode well for the environment. In fact, I heard her described as "James Watt with big hair." I'm also less sanguine than everybody else seems to be about Colin Powell as Secretary of State. I respect the man, but I disagree with his isolationist tendencies.
Incidentally, I don't recall whether I mentioned before that it was Florida that was the key state in dispute in the Hayes-Tilden election fiasco, too. Which had suggested a simple solution to preventing these situations, starting with a giant saw. But I have come up with an even more elegant (and uniquely American) idea. All Florida voters will vote by being interviewed by Regis Philbin, who will ask them, "is that your final vote?" Applying the game show format to politics in general is my newest parlor game. Consider "Win Ben Stein's Cabinet Post" or "Washington Squares," with Dick Cheney in the center box. Or try applying "The Price Is Right" to bribery scandals - what is the suggested going rate for buying a judge in New York? I'll take "Right Wing Women of Color Who Never Hired Illegal Aliens" for $600, Alex.
As for the Clinton legacy, I think it's way too early to tell. It takes several years to see the full effects of what happened in any given administration. For example, Truman was reassessed sharply upward in the 1970's and there's less blind hero worship of JFK than there used to be. I also think the legal deal Clinton agreed to is a good thing, enabling us to move ahead without him getting off completely scot free either. The password is "plea bargain."
Shameless Self-Promotion Department: Come see the Biona Bards in "Family Matters" on February 3rd, 2001 at 7:30 p.m. at Tales By the Sea. The concert is at the Malibu United Methodist Church, 31028 Morning View Drive, across from Zuma Beach. Doors open at 7 p.m.. For reservations or information, call Ann at 310-457-2385.
Copyright 2001 Miriam H. Nadel
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