Latte Nation

Latte Nation

Setbacks for California’s High-Speed Rail Boondoggle

By 6.26.14

Briefly last week supporters of California’s high-speed train project had something to cheer about. The state legislature, in approving a budget for 2014-15, voted to divert $250 million of expected cap-and-trade funds to the project, and subsequently allocating 25 percent of such funds during each year of construction. 

Governor Jerry Brown initially called this his “legacy” project. He doesn’t use that term any more, but he nevertheless worked assiduously with legislative leaders to come up with the funds that go into effect July 1. Why the urgency?

Typically, an infrastructure project involving federal matching funds must begin with the state putting its own money down first. Under the rules here, California must spend those federal funds by September 2017. Project planners feared that wouldn’t happen if they didn’t get a move on now. 

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Gluten for Punishment

By 6.24.14

We recently had dinner with another couple at a very fine restaurant. My friend’s wife, whom I'll call Alice, is a delightful and very intelligent woman, but also an uncompromising health fanatic, a virtual nutrition Nazi. As a result, placing our dinner order turned into an excruciatingly tedious ordeal.

“Good evening. My name is Jennifer, and I’ll be your server this evening.” She flashed a welcoming (don’t-forget-that-generous-tip) smile and added, “May I get you a cocktail or a glass of wine to start?” 

We ordered two martinis and a Pinot Grigio. Alice demurred and announced, “I don’t drink alcohol; what kind of fruit juice do you have?” Our server/waitperson/waitress wrinkled her brow: “Why, I don’t know. I’ll have to ask the bartender.”

“The appetizers are listed on your menu,” she continued. “I highly recommend the foie gras, it is really exceptional. And, we have two specials tonight that are not on your menu, the blue point oysters and simply delicious Maryland crab cakes—they’re our house specialty. I’ll be back in a minute with your drinks.” 

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National Fashion League

By 11.27.13

When the Northwestern Wildcat football team took Ryan Field in their matchup against the Michigan Wolverines, I was absolutely stunned. The NU players were decked out from head to toe like Captain America figures, draped in patriotic red, white, and blue from helmet to cleats. There wasn’t a hint of their traditional Wildcat purple and white. 

The special edition uniforms were covered with images of the American flag, and the space on the back of the uniform that normally contains players’ names had one of the following seven words on it instead: Duty, Honor, Commitment, Courage, Country, Integrity, Service. They were sold after the game and proceeds were donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, which provides programs and services for injured service members and their families as they transition from active duty to civilian life.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved the touching tribute to our service men and women and the inspiring commitment to the Wounded Warrior Project. I am a Navy veteran and like many other college football fans I’m a flag-waving patriot who loves any tribute honoring those who served our country.

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War’s End?

By 8.12.09

Scientists are wrong to think war may be a thing of the past.
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