Healthcare: Ask Not

When last night’s vote on H.R. 1628, the Republican healthcare bill, was cancelled, Democrats across the country were overjoyed.  In particular, the minority leaders for the House and Senate, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, were delighted to take ownership for the bill’s defeat.  Speaker Ryan was evidently quite disappointed in defeat, and President Trump was quick to cast blame.

On the face of it, that’s the whole story.  Obamacare (the ACA) is the law of the land and likely to remain so for another year at least.  The Republicans tried and failed; the Democrats won an unlikely (more…)

We’re Going To Mars?

(Picture of empty status board in NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building.  Image credit Tony Rice.)

Amid all the scandal, the signing on Tuesday of the NASA reauthorization act (now Public Law 115-10) caused almost no noise in the media.  On the face of it, this is a standard funding authorization, and those aren’t usually worthy of much attention.

But slightly below the surface, this law contains several alterations from the present status.  It’s definitely worth a second look. (more…)

Manafort, Nunes, Russia: More Non-News

Two old stories made headlines again today, both Trump-Russia.  Neither one is news.

A short time ago, Rep. Devin Nunes (R. Calif.), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, held a brief press conference in which he stated he was on his way to the White House to inform the President about a recent discovery.  He’s apparently learned of certain conversations that the government recorded (more…)

Boxcar Bar + Arcade, Raleigh NC

And here you thought arcades were a thing of the past.

The Boxcar is precisely what the arcades of your youth were not.  Those machines were filthy, nasty, and poorly maintained; these are pristine and beautiful.  The crowd back then was smelly pimpled kids sucking Jolt Cola; now, they’re well-groomed urban professionals mixed with college students, and the beverage of choice is craft beer on tap.  And let me tell you, the beer is damned good — too good, in fact; it’ll affect your game if you’re not careful.

Speaking of games, let me tell you about the games.  Not only do they (more…)

Not Korea Or Syria, But Venezuela

Caracas is about five hundred miles south of Puerto Rico, and it’s home to one of the most troubled economies in the world.  And, while the United States has indeed played a part in letting this happen, as a whole it’s mostly the fault of the Venezuelan government.

Books could be written here, and some no doubt have been.  I’m going to keep this short, however, and in order to do that (more…)

Breaking News: Comey Testifies, Says Nothing

In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee today, Monday, 20 Mar 2017, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is in fact investigating whether the Russian government attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election, and who if anyone colluded with them in their actions.  As well, he spoke at some brief length on the process involved in ordering wiretaps, stating that President Obama could not have tapped the phone lines at Trump Tower during the election.

Before I go on, let me just say that his testimony (more…)

Swig & Swine, Charleston SC

“Horrifyng Vegetarians Since 2013”, the Swig & Swine serves what I believe to be the best ‘Cue in the Lowcountry, including the third-best ribs I have ever had the pleasure to consume.

With any other style of cuisine I’d have to warn you not to be fooled by the decor, which features corrugated steel and a lot of bare wood.  But that’s (more…)

Skippers Fish Camp, Darien GA

When there’s no parking left because of all the local cars, when the smell of the seafood drives you nuts while you’re in line to get seated, and where there’s an actual shrimp boat tied up to the dock outside — that’s where you go to get good food.

Darien is a little town in Georgia with a big history and a wildlife sanctuary, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.  Instead, we’re talking about fresh-caught Georgia shrimp (more…)

Jet City Espresso, Tampa FL

It’s an unlikely place for wonderful coffee — a tiny repurposed Florida house, beige and unassuming.  And yet… wow.

Pre-Starbucks, there wasn’t a coffee shop on every corner.  You could go a ways before you found the nearest Krispy Kreme or Dunkin Donuts, and even then the coffee was pretty basic — bland and ordinary, and usually weak as dishwater.  But then came the coffeehouse movement of the early 90s, which introduced the joys of espresso and latte to the American public.

Jet City opened up in Tampa back then and has been going strong (more…)