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William C. Altreuter
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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

I have long maintained that Nixon was the last Republican President who possessed any sort of meaningful intellectual capacity. Reagan, Bush pere, and Bush fils, were basically fronts for interests that couldn't otherwise be advanced. (Ford? Ford did what he was told.) Trump is like this, with the chief difference being that everyone is saying the quiet parts aloud.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Some of the happiest moments I've had attending live music performances were at Roches shows. In a year which cost us Chuck Berry and Tom Petty among many others losing Maggie Roche felt the most personal.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Coco the dog spent Christmas at the kennel, enjoying friend time with the Bernese Mountain Dog and others. The following day Emily asked if I would pick her up, which I did gladly, and I brought her to Big Pink.
Coco always enters Big Pink in a state of high anticipation. Perhaps Emily will be there, but even if she is not Orng will be, and Coco is very excited by Orng. This time was no exception. As soon as she walked in she began to bark in the vicinity of the Christmas tree.
Here's a thing about Coco: if she tells you that there is a cat somewhere you can take it to the bank. I did not see Orng, or any other cat, but I believed Coco, so I started moving her, on a short leash, towards the kitchen. Of course the path was littered with boxes and packages and Christmas debris, so I was picking my way carefully when, from behind me I heard the brush of branches and the tinkle of ornaments. I turned, and saw the orange cat emerging from her napping spot, and stalking towards the dog and me, making a growling sound that made it clear that she meant business.
Like the tigers who are her cousins Orng moved forward. Her intent was clear, and I imagined I could hear her thinking. "First there was that gray cat that ate my food. Then there were the kittens, and now this... this thing. It ends now. These people are not to be trusted. What next? Elephants? Walruses? Coco the dog, I will see your head on a pike."
I got Coco out of there tout de suite, upstairs to the TV room where we could watch Lost in Space behind a barricaded door, but Orng followed, slowly, and we could hear her growling her primal growl for some minutes after, on the other side.
Truly she is a magnificent animal.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Best sandwiches of the year. I will have to check some of these out. My personal top sandwiches for 2017? The Cuban sandwich at City Fare down the block is the best I've had anywhere. I also enjoyed the hell out of my Ferdie's Special at Mother's, and my Zingerman's experience. And then there was the sandwich that Cocco the dog took off my desk......

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Swedish Death Cleaning

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Here's the thing with taxes: they are a method by which governments raise money, but that is really only part of it. On the most fundamental level taxes are a means of expressing policy. When something is favored-- home ownership, say, or health insurance-- a good tax code promotes that activity. When something is disfavored-- soft drinks or cigarettes or early withdrawals from retirement savings-- a good tax code operates to discourage that. Tax codes require adjustment because at some point they start to operate as less of a mechanism for policy expression and more of an end to themselves. From what I can see the Republican tax legislation that we are about to suffer has as its policy expression the idea that taxes are bad, and that the accumulation and retention of wealth by a small minority is good. This is, of course an outgrowth of the nihilistic belief that government is the ultimate bad, instead of the source of value in society.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

One of the things I think we are beginning to learn is the pervasiveness of sexual harassment, and I must confess that even though Anita Hill's testimony shocked and sickened me all those years ago, and even though I thought I had a handle on how common it is, I was grossly underestimating just how pervasive this conduct is, and how pernicious. I come at the issue knowing that my daughter's grad school choices were colored by the "open secret" culture, but I still never gave it as much thought-- or outrage-- as I should have. So here's Dahlia Lithwick on Judge Alex Kozinski, whose jurisprudence, as learned as it may be, should not furnish him with any shield from what I hope is public shaming and impeachment.

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