Saturday, March 5, 2016

Fifth Ave and the Tamiami Trail, aka, the Corner of Happy and Healthy

Who knew?

Well-being Neopolitans enjoy the sunset
Turns out Naples, FL has been identified, according to ABC News, Ft. Myers,  as the  top the Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being: 2015 Community Rankings Report, which measures how residents of 190 U.S. cities feel about their physical health, social ties, financial security, community and sense of purpose.

"Naples is a high well-being place," Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, told  "People in Naples really like their communities."

Residents there have the lowest levels of stress in the country, report little depression and eat healthy on a daily basis, the report found. Many of them like their daily activities and enjoy an intellectually lively culture, telling interviewers they learn or do something interesting every day.

Frankly, we have been noticing a strange sense of euphoria hereabouts, but the scuttlebutt down here is that the cause is either the water being released from Lake Okeechobee by the Army Corps of Engineers, the chemically-tainted prevailing winds from Key West, or the drinks at the Blue Martini.

Whatever the cause, here we are in Swellville. The fact that Barnstable Mass is in 5th place doesn't detract at all from this honor

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Re-Located View

Naples Sunset at the Pier
We finally got down to the Naples Pier to take a few pix of the View's winter  quarters  view. While our Plymouth view, from the Rock's portico, east, across the Atlantic,  the prevailing view down here is to the west over the Gulf of Mexico. Hence, some great sunsets. Here's that view while we watch the sun go down with a few friends.

On the political front, just when it surely could not get any sillier, The Donald squares off with the Pope!!!!!  What next? Hillary and Bernie mud-wrestling over tied caucus votes?

Take it away South Carolina.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Candidates quiet on The Debt Issue

Last week-end it was 24/7 coverage of the Iowa Caucuses, with even those way down on the list of Republican candidates getting TV face time. What was strangely missing was coverage of the announcement that the total amount of  debt issued by the federal government had topped $19 Trillion, just a little over a year after reaching $18 Trillion.

Not that we only blame the candidates since it is tough to ask for votes while sharing this type of news. But where is the vaunted media on this issue?

It's not a complicated idea. Anyone who has a credit card understands that running up, and maintaining, a balance due can be the first step on the road to financial perdition. All the wizards with control of the country's fisc  are surely aware of the dangers of the growing debt. They most assuredly know that this debt is not going to go away and will flow downstream to future generations to deal with, i.e. pay for. They also understand that, in the meantime, the debt must be serviced, which means more current demands for increased tax revenues.  In addition to paying the interest, current taxpayers will also be serviced (think animal husbandry) at an increasing rate.

How about it candidates?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A Bret Stephens Tantrum

The Bretster
Bret, who is usually on the View's short list of journalist faves, must have been up against a deadline when he decided to take on Ted Cruz today in his WSJ column. Or perhaps all that fresh air and sunlight at that writers festival out in Rancho Mirage over-loaded his senses as he gazed into those "cerulean skies and pink clouds". Quick, someone Fed Ex him a canister of 3rd Avenue air.

Clearly, Stephens was in a twist over Cruz's recent knock on Donald Trump's New York Values, which seemed more like a short-handed swipe against the Donald's conservative bona fides, than it did an indictment of the values of the people of New York. Having said that, we think it was a very bad idea for Ted to stick his proverbial finger in the proverbial eye of millions of voters who happen to live between the Hudson and the East Rivers. But let's get real. The people of New York have long been the targets of vitriol and disrespect, the go-to-target for comedians with limited imagination, and we think they actually take pride in these types of put-downs.  Last time we looked, extra thick skins were still de rigueur in Manhattan. Or as Frank sang, If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. Bret, get over it.

As for Donald Trump, we think that for too long he has gotten away with magic wand solutions to large and complex issues. Build a big wall along the southern border, stop all immigration, send Carl Icahn over to negotiate a new settlement with Iran. It's probably about time that he should flesh out his big brassy ideas with some basic explanation of the underpinnings, not to mention refining just where his conservative principles lie. It would seem that there is more needed than shock statements.

Finally, we don't fully understand the brouhaha over the million dollar loan. It was made at a low interest rate?  There has certainly been a lot of that going around. The loan came from Goldman Sachs, where Cruz's wife works? Where else would she go for a loan? For crying out loud, they paid the money back. They did miss one of the reporting requirements, but if that is the extent of corruption in Ted's financial affairs, it's a pretty lame.

Ted Cruz is still one of the few candidates left who has a shot at the Republican nomination, especially among those in a conservative state of mind.  Perhaps he should Apologize to New Yorkers, but they would all immediately label that as wimp behavior.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Has the Tide Turned?

Attack Dog?
No, not Bama. The student-athletes of the Crimson Tide are still celebrating their national title. But a change in that elusive and ephemeral substance known as voter sentiment, may be marking the high tide mark in the support for Hillary's presidential aspirations.

As cited by a WSJ editorial in today's issue, it is being increasingly asked just what is the basis for Bernie Sanders' strength against Ms. Inevitable of 2016? He has poll leads in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Could it be that many Democrats have finally given a hard look at her basic honesty? The measured release of emails continues and for all Hillary's efforts at minimizing the problem: [to wit, the emails weren't really classified, at least when sent, plus they didn't contain the State Department's double-secret hazard warnings,] the problem continues to fester.

The FBI is reportedly expanding its email probe to include instances where Hillary's State Department duties may have sailed too close to her efforts on behalf of The Clinton Foundation. This will include a new batch of emails of DOS staffers whose duties seemed to include work for the Foundation. While some have criticized the FBI for not moving faster on this matter, it may just be that the feds are taking their time to be sure that the ultimate results of their investigation will stand up. If an indictment does come to pass, Hillary will not be able to rely on her "who you gonna believe, me, or your own eyes?" defense

Another example of an increasing concern (panic?) within the Hillary camp is the recent emergence of daughter Chelsea as the designated attack dog against Bernie Sanders and his healthcare proposals. Interestingly, not only does she criticize the self-described socialist, but does so with a pack of half-truths (dare we not say lies?)

Jim Geraghty, writing in today's edition of National Review's Morning Jolt  provides a cogent analysis of Chelsea's new role:

"Now they’re using Chelsea Clinton as an attack dog, making one of those patented technically-true-but-epically-misleading-out-of-context- accusations."


"Naturally, Hillary insists her daughter is right, that Bernie Sanders wants to take away your health care."

"Perhaps we shouldn’t be stunned that Chelsea Clinton, former NBC News reporter under the tutelage of Brian Williams, is running around telling stories that are exaggerated to the point of falsehood. Alternately, maybe Chelsea inherited the shameless lying gene from both sides."

It's not surprising that the Clinton campaign has gone negative. But this early? and against a fellow Democrat? Especially a Democrat who had been considered a non-contender?  We wonder if Joe Biden is tanned, rested and ready?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ted Cruz Sticks to his principles

It is generally agreed among the political class that there is little to be gained by taking a stand against a law, especially when you are ostensibly looking for votes from those who may have a vested interest in that laws perpetuation.  In this regard, we cite Ted Cruz's opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS), first passed in 2005 and which requires, among other things, that ethanol be added to the gasoline purchased by American motorists. Since ethanol is produced from corn, this issue would seem destined to play a major role in a presidential primary in, say, Iowa, which is knee deep in corn farmers.

Ted's position on this issue has not gone unnoticed among the good folks in Iowa, especially said farmers who sell corn to the ethanol plants.  A front-page article in today's WSJ chronicles the anti-Cruz crusade being waged by America's Renewable Future, which represents the ethanol lobby. Suffice it to say, they are not happy with young Ted.

The Renewable Fuel Standards is a prime example of many of the regulations being pumped out by federal agencies in a flawed attempt to achieve questionable goals. These agencies unilaterally
issue laws and then often act as judge and jury as they prosecute violators, all with little or no oversight by the executive branch. While the flaws of the RFS are widely known, click HERE for a concise analysis written by Nicolas Loris of the Heritage Foundation.

The point here is not whether Ted Cruz is against renewable energy, but rather that Ted Cruz is willing to take a stand, at considerable political risk, against this type of administrative law that comes not from the legislative process, but rather springs from the misguided minds of bureaucrats, often stifling economic progress and adding to the degree to which the federal government has oozed its way into more and more aspects of our daily lives.

Quoted in the Journal article, Ted Cruz said:

"I don't think Iowa farmers want to be dependent on Washington"  

In a few weeks, the voters of Iowa will decide whether or not they agree.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Relocating to Winter Quarters

As mentioned on FB, the trip wasn't quite as rugged as the Joad's trip to California (depicted nearby), but we did have the car chock full of materiel, desperately needed in Naples, as we completed the 1500 mile slog down I-95

We are now ensconced in our winter quarters, patiently awaiting the arrival of the Red Sox up the road in Fort Myers next month. In the meantime, the View will be temporarily shifted a bit south, to the "world-famous", pelican-friendly, Naples Pier. Photos to follow.

With Florida being home base for two of the Republican candidates for president, it will be interesting to see if our new location provides a different slant on the upcoming primaries. stay tuned.

Having arrived two days ago, it was interesting to learn that it was 11 degrees and snowing in Plymouth this morning. Don't worry, the View has a strict no-gloat policy, but facts are stubborn things.