Monday, June 29, 2015
This Presidential Election is rare. Both the Democratic and Republican nominations are wide open. History tells us that one or both of today’s favorites will not win the nomination. The odds are that it will not be Bush-Clinton in 2016. Second, the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections wiped out the Democratic bench. Thus, the Democrats don’t have new faces to offer the American public while the Republicans have a plethora of candidates. Today’s favorites are Hillary Clinton on the Democratic side and ??? for Republicans Hillary has money, organization, and name recognition. Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist, believes she is inevitable. The Democratic establishment wants her. Hillary had money, organization and the name recognition 8 years ago. She was out-organized in Iowa by the former community organizer, Senator Barack Obama. The country took a look at the Senator and the rest is history. Hillary’s support is a mile wide and an inch deep. She runs the risk of falling victim to the ABC Syndrome, “Anyone but Clinton.” The most likely Eugene McCarthy or George McGovern of this election cycle is nominally Independent Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont, who is everything Secretary Clinton is not – authentic. The Senator is exiting crowds. He is a true progressive, unlike the faux progressive of the Secretary, whose views vary with the wind. The two questions for Secretary Clinton are “Can she make it through 16 months without another scandal or verbal faux pas?” and “Will Bill not hog the scene and suck the oxygen out of the air for 16 months?” Polls show her image to be as one of untrustworthy as she channels her inner Brian Williams. Remember she once survived an attack. She also dodged, so far, Benghazi, State Department emails and the Clinton Family Foundation. Drip, drip, drip! She is also lacking on the stump. Also contending in the Democratic primaries are former Governors Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chaffee. Governor O’Malley was Mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland – e’nuff said, except the speculation is that he’s really angling for the Vice Presidential spot on the Democratic ticket or a cabinet position. Lincoln Chaffee, the former Republican, Independent, Senator and Governor of Rhode Island, seized upon his extensive experience to announce a bold plan; the United States should go metric. Vice President Biden is coolly waiting in the wings if the Democratic nomination process blows open. He looks so cool in sunglasses. Jim Webb, former Secretary of the Navy, Senator from Virginia, and past Republican is also deliberating entering the race. He’s for the forgotten common man. The Republican race is more exciting. The three presumed frontrunners are Governor Jeb Bush, Governor Scott walker, and Senator Marco Rubio. A favorite of the base is Dr. Ben Carson. The African American surgeon is the “common man” of the race. His problems are two-fold. First, that as a non-politician he has not yet learnt how to mince words. Second, he lacks an organization. He must rely upon grass roots efforts. Governor Mike Huckabee and Senator Rick Santorum will split the religious vote, The Governor will claim the Evangelicals, especially important in Iowa where he won the 208 Iowa Caucus, and the Senator Catholics. The Governor is a deeply conservative Christian. He has supported tax increases in the past. Senator Santorum got a bad deal four years ago. The final tally showed him winning the Iowa caucuses by 34 votes, but Governor Romney was reported the winner and received the momentum. Senator Rand Paul has the conservatism of his dad, Congressman Ron Paul, without the extremism. However, his views on national security are far outside the Republican mainstream. ISIS will sink his campaign. Governor Rick Perry is looking for a redo (Hillary would call it a “reset”) from 4 years ago. He had a poor introduction to the American public, apparently from an illness or medication, and dropped out. He deserved better. The question is if his first impressions will stick. Donald Trump jumped into the race, having flirted in past elections with the voters. He is a publicity maven. Who knows if he is serious? Carly Fiorina is basing her campaign on attacking Hillary Clinton whereas the other candidates are criticizing President Obama, who will not be on the ballot. Her polling has not budged, but she’s right about Clinton. Senator Ted Cruz is an outspoken lone wolf without an organization. Governor Jindal of Louisiana will be an impressive candidate, but it’s an open question if he can get traction. Senator Lindsay Graham is a national defense hawk. The retired Air Force Colonel is a close ally of Senator John McCain, the 2008 nominee. That, and his squishy record on illegal immigration and social issues have not endeared him to party regulars. Governor Chris Christy of New Jersey is expected to declare next week. He was an early frontrunner. His embrace of President Obama after Hurricane Sandy during the 2012 election created a little backlash, but Bridgegate by his aides stalling traffic on the George Washington Bridge as an act of political retribution has become the bridge too far in his campaign. Stalling traffic for three days is not a winning campaign strategy. Governor George Pataki of New York has thrown his hat into the ring. He was the last Republican Governor of New York, but his tenure ended in 2006. A decade out of the limelight is an eternity in politics. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the last New York Governor elected President, and that was in 1932, Thomas E. Dewey failed in 1948 while W. Averell Harriman and Nelson Rockefeller couldn’t win their party nominations. Waiting in the wings is Governor John Kasich of Ohio. A steady conservative, he would be the ideal ticket balancing as Vice President since Ohio has been the constant critical swing state in recent elections. His problem is that he accepted the ObamaCare Medicaid extension in Ohio to the dismay of conservatives. Governor Jeb Bush is more poised and articulate than his brother, President George W. Bush. He is married to a Latina and speaks Spanish fluently. He clearly has access to the Bush network and fundraising. He is the establishment candidate. His plan is to have the resources to be the last man standing in the Republican primaries, and thus win the nomination through perseverance. However, he got off to a slow start and his support of Amnesty, the Core Curriculum, and social issues make him a better candidate in the November general election than in the Republican primaries. Governor Scott Walker of the historically Progressive State of Wisconsin has not yet formally declared, but he’s in. He won three elections, including a recall election, in five years in Wisconsin, crippled the public employee unions, and converted Wisconsin into a right to work state. Republicans love him, as he is well tested by fire. My prediction, which is historically unreliable, is Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Why? He is articulate, intelligent, thoughtful, clearly Hispanic, conservative, a skillful politician with a compelling up from his bootstraps story. He is though, like Governor Bush and Senator Graham, suspect to some Republicans on immigration. But that’s not the major reason. The Eastern establishment fears him as the Republican nominee. They believe he has the best chance of winning the general election. We know that because the New York Times wrote two mediocre hit pieces on him few weeks ago. The Times questioned his economics status. He has a mortgage and had student loans. The Times has never found anything wrong with the sweetheart deal Senator Obama received on his house in Chicago by Tony Rezko, a since convicted felon. They questioned his “luxury” boat, which turns out to be a fishing boat. Yet, they were silent on Senator John Kerry’s $7 million, 76’ yacht Isabel built inNew Zealand and moored in Rhode Island to avoid paying $500,000 in Massachusetts taxes. The Times criticized Senator Rubio and his wife fore having speeding tickets in 18 years between them. 13 were by his wife. The Times’ tip came from he Clinton people. Hillary Clinton has no speeding tickers because she claims not to have driven a car in two decades. Even liberals lambasted The Times for shoddy reporting. Hence, if the Times is trying to take him out 16 months in advance, then he is the favorite. But, then again the question is who will emerge from the Iowa scrum?
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Yesterday’s 5-4 Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges upholding gay marriage was absolutely no surprise to anyone who has followed Justice Kennedy’s jurisprudence over the past 20 years. It was ordained. There will literally be dancing in the streets during Gay Pride Parades. The problem is that the right to marry came from 5 Justices rather than through the body politic, the democratic process. I’ve written in favor of gay marriage, but not through the courts. My concern over judicial legislation is that on a social issue as polarizing as gay marriage or abortion it will create a backlash that will poison the political system for decades. Some Republican Presidential candidates are calling for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. That is a non-starter. It will not happen. Nor will a subsequent Supreme Court overturn Obergefell. It is the law of the land, a basic constitutional right. It includes the right to wed and divorce, file joint taxes, and receive survivor benefits. However, the decision does not resolve the religious issue, but will bring it to the fore. Justice Kennedy wrote: “The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and central to their lives and faiths.” He said both sides both sides “should engage in an open and searching debate.” Would if that were so. Justice Kennedy’s words recognized the right of speech and teaching, but said nothing about the free exercise, including the practice of one’s beliefs. Will a Catholic Priest be forced to perform a gay wedding? Will the Denver baker have to cater a gay wedding? Justice Ginsburg, as expected voted in the majority. Professor Ginsburg in her earlier life as a law professor criticized Roe v. Wade because the Supreme Court decision took the abortion issue out of the hands of the people. It stopped the “momentum for change, which was building across the country for the right to have an abortion, and currently in favor of gay marriage. Some zealot advocates of gay rights have unfortunately shown no tolerance for opponents. Financial donors to California’s Prop 8 lost their jobs when their names were disclosed. One was Brendan Eich, CEO of Mozilla, who had donated $1,000 to the Prop 8 cause. These zealots will not be satisfied just by winning the right to wed. They will want more. An administrative law judge in Colorado in December 2013 ordered a Denver bakery to serve gay weddings or pay a fine. The owner’s response was to stop baking wedding cakes for anyone. He is no longer discriminating. More recently Memories Pizza in Indiana shut down for several days because of the vitriolic response and threats it received after saying it would serve gays at the pizzeria, but not cater a gay wedding. Over $800,000 was raised in support of memories Pizza, illustrating the prospect of a backlash. The founding family of Chick-fil-A are devoutly religious. A statement by the President against gay marriage triggered a firestorm. Yet, the public support for the company drowned out the critics. Some will argue today that opponents of gay marriage are now engaged in hate speech and are homophobic. Sometime in the near future an attempt will be made to get churches opposed to gay marriage to perform such a ceremony. The denial will be followed by an attempt to strip the churches of their non-profit status. The Churches most at risk are Catholic, Mormon, Southern Baptist, and perhaps some African American Churches. The result will be enactment in many states of religious freedom laws, which will effectively allow merchants and restaurants to discriminate based on their religious principles. Such statutes will also increase the divisiveness on the issue of Gay Marriage. Let’s listen to Rodney King: “Why can’t we all just get along?”
Monday, June 22, 2015
The Congressional Budget Office Gets It Wrong Again on ObamaCare The CBO issued a report last week stating that full repeal of ObamaCare, The Affordable Care Act to the CBO, will increase the deficit by $137 billion over 10 years. $13.7 billion/year is petty cash, or “chump change,” to this Administration, but that’s not the point. The CBO spent six months working with the Democratic Congress to massage the figures to make ObamaCare appear to reduce the deficit prior to enactment. Thus, a series of tax increases resulted, many of which are devastating to the economy. The Act resulted in a decrease in full time jobs, workers being shifted to part time, and millions losing their existing coverage, receiving lesser coverage at a higher cost The CBO analysis is simple. Federal subsidies will drop by $1.15 trillion, a net gain. The decrease in subsidies would be accompanied by a $631 billion drop in tax receipts through the dozens of taxes contained in the act. Further, cost controls, that is, price constraints on insurers, hospitals and others will be lifted, increasing costs by $879 billion, leading to the $137 billion deficit. This is the analysis of bean counters, oblivious to reality. It totally ignores reality. ObamaCare will bankrupt the economy. It defies the basic laws of economics and the reality of the marketplace – the law of supply and demand. It increases demand for medical services while restricting, indeed shrinking, supply. The cost restrains on doctors are driving them out of the market, thereby restricting supply. Yet nothing in the Bill was intended to increase the supply of doctors. The cost constrains are like a pressure cooker, which is threatening to blow. Implicit in CBO analyses is that tax increases, money flowing into the government’s coffers, are good for the government, and hence the country and economy. The CBO reported a few months ago that ObamaCare has reined in cost increases. That is an amazing statement considering that premiums in the non-group market rose 24.4% in 2014. All but six states are witnessing substantial premium increases in the non-group market. Maryland and Tennessee are looking at 30% increases while Oregon is seeing a 25% rise in premiums. The premium rises, coupled with the high deductibles and limited coverage of most plans, will drive many Americans out of the health insurance market. The premiums and high deductibles will suck away much of the disposable income of less affluent Americans, also thereby creating a drag on the economy. Even the insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies are realizing they made a fool’s bargain in getting sucked into supporting ObamaCare. The public still opposes the Act. The CBO does not get the message.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
California is paving the way California Will Legalize Lane Splitting Look out America; Lane splitting is coming to you. They say California leads the nation. If so, then lane splitting is coming to you. Lane splitting is nothing like Abraham Lincoln splitting logs. Every state or region has its customs of the road. For example, in Massachusetts the first car gets to make a left turn when the red light turns green, cutting in front of the car coming straight forward. It takes only one or two near misses to learn that rule of the road. New York has a more frustrating custom of the rule. The first three cars retain the right to drive through the stoplight when it flashes red from yellow. The result is often gridlock. Lane splitting is apparently a European custom and jumped the Atlantic and the American continent to land in Southern California. It is neither expressly legal nor illegal under the Motor Vehicle Code. It is implicitly tolerated by the California Highway Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist on the centerline splits through two lines of cars moving or stuck in traffic. The motorcyclist is going fast, seemingly speeding. He’s protected from radar guns by the surrounding cars. Dennis Zine, a Los Angeles City Council Member and motorcycle officer for 18 years, says an motorcycle officer could apprehend a lane splitter, who is thereby oblivious to the speed limit. Picture this: You are stuck in stop and go traffic, intensely concentrating on the vehicles around you, when like a bat out of hell, a motorcycle suddenly roars past you. Your eyes flick instinctively over to the cycle, and you rear end the car in front, setting off a chain reaction. You are legally at fault, but the anonymous cyclist continues on his way, oblivious to the mayhem he has created - free of liability. If there’s no accident, you are jealous because that damn biker is speeding ahead while you are mired in traffic with no way out. You are infused with road rage. You are tempted, oh are you tempted, the next time you see a lane splitter coming through the rear view mirror, to just nudge your car a little closer to the center line, but you don’t. You won’t. Come on Californian! Admit to it! You thought of it! Of course you don’t do it. You will not injure that SOB. I’m not tempted because I have learnt patience over the years. I simply factor extra time in my driving schedule. We measure distance by time and not miles in the greater Los Angeles Basin. You might think it, but morality, humanism and the law stop you. An accident through carelessness is also possible. The car driver could be distracted while stuck in traffic. Texting (illegal in California), cell phoning (also illegal in California unless hands free), dashboard dining, adjusting the entertainment package come quickly to mind. The cyclist could also be distracted for a second. A bill allowing lane splitting is speeding through the California Legislature on a non-partisan basis, proving the Legislature can do more than raise taxes, The California Assemble approved a measure last Thursday 58-14 to legalize lane splitting in California, subject to two unrealistic and unenforceable conditions: 1) The motorcyclist drive no safer than 15mph above the surrounding traffic; and 2) In on case can the lane splitter drive faster than 50mph. Driving at the speed limit is also not the rule of the road in California. Drivers are used to driving from LaLa Land or the OC to Vegas (290 miles) in roughly 3½ hours. The legislation is purportedly backed by a UC Berkeley professor’s study of 6,000 motorcycle accidents, including 1,000 lane splitters. The study has yet to be released to the public. Lane splitting will spread across the amber waves of grain through the 47,836 miles of the Eisenhower Interstate Freeway System Look out Denver Mousetrap Look out Surekill Depressway Look our Cross Bronx Expressway Look out Circle Interchange in Houston Look out America; the lane splitter is coming to you
Friday, June 5, 2015
John Paulson and Harvard University announced Wednesday a $400 million contribution from billionaire hedge fund operator to fund engineering programs at Harvard. The engineering school will now be named the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Advanced Sciences. It’s the largest gift in the history of Harvard, but only the third most significant. The first was in 1636 when the “Great and general Court” of the Massachusetts Bay Colony approved £400 for a new college, renamed Harvard in 1639 after a gift of £779 and 400 hundred books by the reverend John Harvard. Instead of hosannas the response has generally been negative. John Paulson is free to spend his money any way he wishes. He earned it legally, based on financial brilliance and betting against the housing market before its collapse. Joe Kennedy and Bernard Baruch pulled their money out of stocks before the 1929 Crash. This is America. John Paulson can donate his entire fortune to Harvard, give it to Goodwill, blow it in Vegas, leave it to his family, dole it out in campaign contributions, or die intestate. It’s his money – his call. The objections to the Harvard gift ate threefold: 1) Harvard doesn’t need the money; 2) Paulson should have given it to the poor; 3) Taxpayers subsidize the contribution. Harvard is both the most prestigious and richest university with an endowment approaching $36 billion, about $10 billion higher than the runner up University of Texas System. . It is Harvard because it is Harvard. It is Harvard because successful alumni give back to Harvard. Harvard technically does not need the money, but in reality it does. Harvard, despite its greatness in the arts and sciences, business, law, medicine, and public health, is an also-ran in engineering. It has an engineering program, but like the other IVYs with the exception of Cornell and to a lesser extent Princeton, does not heavily invest its resources in engineering. It mostly left engineering to neighboring MIT about a mile away. The top 4 engineering schools in the United States are, in alphabetical order, Berkeley, CalTech, MIT and Stanford. Then comes a cluster of Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Michigan, Northwestern, Purdue, Princeton and Texas. U.S. News ranks Harvard 26th in undergraduate engineering and 20th in graduate engineering. Harvard can easily hold its own against Princeton and Yale, but Stanford is the wave of the future. Stanford, once an exceptional university on the West Coast, is now one of the world’s premier universities, built around engineering and Silicon Valley. Route 128 has been good to MIT, but Stanford created Silicon Valley. Provost and Dean of Engineering Frank Turman is considered the Father of Silicon Valley. He encouraged his students to set up their own companies and established the Stanford Industrial Park in 1951. David Packard, William Hewlett, and the Varian Brothers led the way. The rest is history. The Silicon Valley successes have poured their moneys back into Stanford, boosting not only engineering but also all of Stanford’s academic programs. I once read a former President of Harvard explained the Neglect on engineering in the statement “Our people don’t like to get their hands dirty.” To quote Bob Dylan: “the times, they are a changing.” Engineering, computer and biomedical, are the future. Thus Harvard established the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) in 2007. It recently created undergrad concentrations in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering and a masters program in computer science and engineering. SEAS will be in a new building in Allston, Massachusetts across the Charles River from Cambridge. SEAS was in the planning process of Harvard when the economy collapsed in 2007. Harvard is now bringing the dream to fruition. This is America. If John Paulson wants to fund SEAS, then that is his right. The second argument is that John Paulson should give to the poor rather than the rich. So much of this prate is Harvard envy. The United States has poured trillions in alleviating poverty in the United States, especially in the inner cities. We have Baltimore, Camden, Detroit, Flint, Oakland, St. Louis, the South Bronx, and South Central to show for it John Paulson’s $400 million would accomplish little. Paulson was a NYU graduate and then received his MBA from Harvard. Harvard Business School grads are not social workers. They go into business, especially banking, investment banking, Wall Street and corporate management. They succeed and give back. He has given to other organizations, including $100 million to the Conservancy for Central Park and sits on the boards of NYU and the Met. That John Paulson should donate his fortune to the less fortunate is based on the premise that others should tell you what to do with your money, how do spend it, and upon whom to bestow it. Chuck Feeney is a co-founder of Duty Free Shops, which made him a billionaire. He quietly gave away almost all his fortune, including at least $950,000,000 to Cornell from which he received his degree from the School of Hotel Administration. This is American. It is a personal decision. The third argument is that taxpayers subsidize these contributions through the tax code. We can deduct our contributions to non-profits rather they be educational institutions, museums, poverty fighting organizations, hospitals, or advocacy groups. The effect is to reduce our taxes, as do solar credits, that is, the taxes paid to government. They do not create funds paid to the donors by the government, unlike the Earned Income Credit, which is a cash stipend to lower income taxpayers. Better that John Paulson give away much of his fortune rather than let it be sucked up upon his death by the federal and state bureaucracy. It’s his money.
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
How To Lose a War: Vietnam and Terror Vietnam Over-reliance on air power while micromanaging the air campaign from the White House Fight with one hand tied beyond your back Tolerate a safe haven and supply lines (The Ho Chi Ming Trail in Laos and Cambodia) for the enemy during much of the war Over reliance on technology. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara faith in electronic surveillance to detect Viet Cong and NVA movements Prop up and rely on ineffectual national leaders Watch the ineffectual national leaders politically purge the military Tolerate a culture of corruption Fail to supply the fighting units- leave the Arvan troops out to dry Rely on the unproven and untrustworthy Vietnamization of the war Fail to understand the people you are fighting for Underestimate the will and capability of the North Vietnamese Fail to understand the desire for a unified Vietnam Measure success by body count Declare victory and totally pull out while the enemy is gaining strength. The Case-Church Amendment on June 4, 1973 forbad the renewal of bombing North Vietnam. Congress in 1976 cut off all funding for the South Vietnam Army The War on Terror Over-reliance on air power while micro, micromanaging the air campaign from the White House with no forward observers Fly a minimal number of air sorties daily while pilots haplessly watch enemies get away while awaiting permission to strike Over-reliance on technology – planes and drones do not supply intelligence on the ground Unilaterally declare victory and evacuate while the opponents are still fighting Don’t understand the war. It is not two separate wars, Afghanistan and Iraq, but one unitary War Against Terror, which encompasses Afghanistan and the Mideast. The borders are fluids; the Islamic terrorists highly mobile with the War spreading to Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. The real war on terrorism is a long term, continuous war on many fronts. Send in the lawyers. Our War on Terror is the most lawyered war we fought. We had the chance to take out Mullah Omar at the beginning of the Afghanistan campaign, but a lawyer vetoed it. Lawyers micromanage battlefields. They approve or veto air strikes. Lawyers fight with briefs and writs. Terrorist fight with guns, IED’s, and suicide bombers Fight with both hands and feet tied behind your back. Don't bomb ISIS' 7 headquarters buildings in Raqqa for fear of injuring civilians. Fire the generals who know how to win (Petreaus and McChrystal) Watch the ineffectual national leaders politically and religiously purge the military Rely on the unproven and untrustworthy Iraqization of the war Fail to understand the people you are fighting for Underestimate the will and capabilities of ISIS Fail to understand the desire for a unified Caliphate Draw a line in the sand you do not intend to enforce Don’t bomb and destroy the captured United States military equipment supplied to the government – Let ISIS blow them up as suicide bombs Fail to supply the fighting units (Kurds, etc.) – instead send the munitions and supplies through the incompetent and corrupt Baghdad government Watch units flee when they run out of ammo Leave the Kurds and Iraqi army troops out to dry Measure success by respect Indecisive, weak, pig headed White House leadership
Monday, June 1, 2015
Seattle is one of the world’s great cities with a unique culture founded upon its geography and history. Portland comes close while the iconoclastic approach to life is shared with San Francisco, but no United States city can match Seattle in the variety of transportation. Surrounded by water and encrusted with hills, Seattle is Adaptable. Seattle presents a veritable cornucopia of transportation - historic, modern, and futuristic. We sold the Seattle house in 1986. Thus we have virtually been absent from Seattle for three decades, except for changing planes at SeaTac. We were just back staying in downtown for a conference. I had forgotten what Seattle offered then, and has added to since. I don’t think any city in the United States, including New York City offers the variety of Seattle. First, we have the historic, extensive ferry system, the largest in the United States. which no other U.S. can claim -ferries within the Sound, to Canada, and even north to Alaska. Puget Sound also hosts seaplanes. Then we have the relatively rare trolley busses, including double articulated trolleys. The trolley busses are an adventure when stuck on a hill during the rare snowstorm. Then come the proliferating streetcars, also called trolley cars, and now light rail. The cars are also articulated trolleys. Some of the light rail runs underground. Hence Seattle has an articulated subway system, not to mention the pioneering subway at SeaTac Airport. Let us not forget the now standard busses, regular busses, double articulated busses, and double decker busses (shades of London). (King County) Metro Busses, (Sound) Busses, busses from Tacoma and Pierce County, and Snohomish County. Seven transit systems serve Seattle, clogging downtown streets. You can witness it all from high up the Space Needle. You want taxis. Yellow Cab Company offers yellow Ford Crown Vics and green Prius’. Orange Cab offers non-green, orange Prius’. There’s also water taxis. Tesla has a store in Seattle. Bicycles are for those in great shape. Bicyclists are the elite. They ignore pedestrians. Walking is for most of us. Some youngsters avail themselves of skateboards. Pedicabs are offered to tourists. Finally, totally unique, the one and only, classic, futuristic and original monorail from downtown to the Seattle Center, left over from the 1962 World’s Fair. Of course, Seattle lacks some forms of transit. It scrapped its cable cars, as did almost every other city. Finally, San Francisco can claim a transportation edge over Seattle. The city also lacks a cog railroad. If you want human driven rickshaws, motorized rickshaws, bullock carts, human carts, and elephants, go to India. If you want camels, go to Egypt.
I Love New York, but why can’t New Yorkers keep the New York in New York? SoHo, South of Houston, is a fabled neighborhood in New York City, adjoining TriBeCa. It’s unique; keep it in New York. But New York expatriates prove you can take the New Yorker out of New York, but not New York out of the New Yorker. Thus, Neil Diamond bemoans his leaving New York in “I Am, I Said.” “New York’s home but it ain’t mine no more.” I understand the Big Apple spilling into Westchester County, crossing the GW into Jersey, and escaping to the Catskills, Berkshires, and the Hamptons, and even to Miami with SoBe, but why San Francisco and Seattle? Let them retain their uniqueness and greatness. They don’t need help from New York. Governor Tom McCall of Oregon once popularized the slogan “Don’t Californicate Oregon.” I say “Don’t Yorkify California.” It was bad enough when New Yorkers transformed “South of the Slot” to SoMa (South of Market), probably after a few cocktails at the Washington Square Bar and Grill. But now they call the San Francisco Museum of Modern Act the unpronounceable SFMOMA. Why don’t they do that with LaLa Land and name the contemporary art museum LaMOCA, also available at Starbucks. Why not - West Hollywood is now WeHo. You could even call San Francisco “Frisco,” if that would keep the New Yorker mission creep out of San Francisco, but SoMa crosses Mission Street. Now they’ve moved up to Seattle with a new one: “SoDo,” South of Downtown. SoDo rhymes with DoDo. The nebulous SoDo starts at King Street, just south of the historic Pioneer Square. Pioneer Square and the Pike Place Market are Seattle treasures, but soon New Yorkers may call them Pi Square and PiMo. Seattle traffic has become SloMo, as has Bertha. UnWa will replace UW for the University of Washington with BiFo for Bigfoot. So no, Fo Go, I say NoMo and NoGo, not to be confused with Louisiana’s “Mr. Go,” which went the wrong way. Have a NoDoz.