Thursday, December 14, 2017

Whisky & Science Fiction

An independent bottling of Glen Garioch (pronounced glen ghee-ree because Scotch apparently) and an off-the-beaten-track Simak novel, The Werewolf Principle are what I've got paired up today.

The Glen Garioch 23-year-old from Berry's is all about honey, stewed fruits, peppermint and leather. The 1967 Simak novel is all about the issues of the day - genetic modification , how much is a good thing, how to legislate it and what becomes of the GMOs themselves, all against the backdrop of a post-scarcity society...with flying houses and holographic wallpaper thrown in for good measure. Mind-blowing, especially considering when it was written! Simak is the consummate storyteller, a veritable "Willa Cather of Science Fiction" and Glen Garioch, with the benefit of a decade or so of extra aging, make a perfect pairing.

I can heartily recommend them individually or together because the best thing with a good book is a good dram!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Up And Down Wall Street

I have a serious love-hate relationship with Wall Street. If you want to make any real money for retirement or even just quality of life, you have to engage with The Market. You can do so without a ton of risk if you choose your investments wisely. When politics adversely affect The Market, I want to pull my hair out!

Stocks took a big dump today because Conservative investors are worried that if Trump can't get his Healthcare Bill rammed through, a lot of his pro-business agenda will be DOA as well. By "pro-business", they of course mean "deregulation" which, in the long run, is *bad* for business and consumers. The other part of his "pro-business agenda" is infrastructure spending...the day Trump proposes any *real* spending on honest-to-goodness Infrastructure, you'll find me stacking snowballs in Hades.

Another thing Wall Street is ignoring is the bill Trump is pushing will be devastating to many his white working-class voters who believed Trump when he promised *everyone* would be covered under his replacement plan. The Congressional Budget Office says 24 million will lose coverage -- and they won't be the rich or the upper middle class, but Trump's biggest base of support. The only way the bill can pass is to continue to lie about Obamacare (that it's in a death spiral) and about its replacement being much better for white working class voters (which is also not true).

What the Right forgets about the ACA is of course that "Obamacare" is in reality a conservative plan proposed long ago by conservatives like Mitt Romney who wanted a market-based alternative to single-payer. But since it was passed by Democrats without a single GOP vote it must be repealed. That's been the true goal of the GOP all along regardless of its effects on the working class and poor. Medicaid also gets a hatchet job in the bill. The trick now is to not let this base know he's betraying them, but they're obviously not paying close attention.

Interesting times...