From the print edition, Ben remembers Roy Ash from the Nixon days. Plus much more.
Here I am, downtown, at the new Ritz Carlton Hotel near the Staples Center.
I am at the annual meeting of the Beavers. Now, you may never have heard of the Beavers, but that is your loss. The Beavers are the biggest civil engineering construction firms in America. These are rough, tough, smart men who build immense bridges, huge tunnels, highways, subways.
When I walked into the VIP reception before the dinner, I felt as if I were a pygmy in a land of giants. These were impressively powerful men and you could just feel it in the room. I would not want to tangle with any of them.
I spent a long time talking to John Shea and his son Peter Shea. They are the owners, or some of the owners, of Shea Construction. This amazing firm was founded by Peter Shea’s grandfather, who came from Ireland to America. He started out doing plumbing for bars that needed piping from beer kegs to taps. Within a few years, he was one of the key builders of the Hoover Dam and the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. The company were major builders of the Metro in D.C. In the present moment, they are building a new subway line in New York, under the streets of Manhattan.
Their crews use 8,000 pounds of dynamite every day blasting rock under Gotham to build the tunnel for the citizens and visitors. Every day, more than a thousand of their sandhogs go down 300 feet below the sidewalks of New York to build the tunnels. It’s amazing, even if I say it over and over again.
There were other stories there like this one: very strong, determined, smart grandfathers who started companies and descendants who made the dream bigger and bigger.
The event went on late and by the time it ended, my head was spinning. These are amazing guys. Just incredible. Women construction people too. All strong and enviable. We men who live by scribbling feel small by comparison.
“Bad news on the doorstep,/ I couldn’t take one more step….”
We are down in the desert. It should be a time of rest, but it isn’t. Even though Win Ben Stein’s Money was canceled more than a decade ago, some people think it’s still on air. A woman whom my wife and I considered a close family friend is seeking to play the game and use fantasies and fiction to Win Ben Stein’s Money.
It’s a legal matter and it takes a lot of time to work on getting through it. It came out of the clear blue sky, although I guess you could also say it comes out of one of the bedrocks of human nature…greed. It’s providing well-paid work for lawyers and using up a lot of my peace of mind. I hope when it’s over, I can get some rest. It might not be over for a long time, though. I have to be prepared. But it does organize my day and gives me lots of food for thought. It also brings back some of my training in law that I got at Yale. Nowadays we have computers to help and the Internet, but some of the old concepts like Laches and Voluntary Estoppel still come to mind.
I worked on the matter this morning. Then, I had a good 12-step meeting. Surrender always works. But that means surrender to God, not to man.
I came home and had a small lunch of leftovers with my wifey, who really is not feeling well. Hormel makes an incredibly good meatloaf. It takes six minutes to microwave it and let it cool and it’s good for days afterward. I cannot stop eating it. I put a thin slice of butter on the leftover meat and heat it in the microwave and it is magnificent. Good work, Hormel.
Then I went out to the driving range to hit golf balls. The weather was perfect. But by an ill fate, the only other golfer out there was making horrible coughing and choking sounds as if he were trying to bring up phlegm. Disturbing. I could not concentrate. I hit many poor shots.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?