Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita... Midway through the journey of our life...
Conversation overheard in a Los Angeles Restaurant. Los Angeles must be one of the never disclosed circles of Dante's Hell. It seems to be the Circle where unrepentant Liberals are sent to wander...
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita...
(Midway through the journey of our life...)
We go to Los Angeles because there is no other option. Ever since a family member became ill, we go there monthly to visit, and to assure that she receives high quality care. Achieving that end is in itself difficult for many reasons, and could be the subject of an entire piece. One major concern is the over regulation extant in the health care industry, which impacts patient care in that it reduces time with patients and increases time taking notes. What makes our high quality care difficult to achieve is the preponderance of non-English speaking nurses and nursing associates at the convalescent hospital. Don't get me wrong, these are nice people, who would probably seem even nicer if we could understand them. This is especially the case when they speak Spanish or Tagalog.
Furthermore, this note does not address the millions of immigrants - legal or otherwise – who do not have enough feeling for the United States to learn the language of the country where they live, and where they make a living. It does, however, address the difficulty in understanding English speaking Americans, who seem unable to express themselves intelligently, and unable or unwilling to discern fact from fiction as they take sides in the upcoming Presidential election, or in generally assessing the political landscape.
We were unlucky enough to be seated next to two of these types at dinner in Los Angeles the other night. Completing the partial quote from Dante’ in the title of this article pretty much summarizes how we felt about these people as we endured dinner sitting next to these fellows. Surely this applies”
“Midway through the journey of our life, I found
Myself in a dark wood, for I had strayed
From the straight pathway to this tangled ground.”
Inferno, Dante Alighieri,
translated by Michael Parma
Replace “I” with “we”, “myself” with “ourselves” in the above quote and you have a three line stanza that perfectly summarizes our unintended dinner companions. They are in a dark wood, and they indeed have strayed from any pathway, straight or tangled.
The conversation we overheard the other night is detailed below, as are the responses we would have made if we wanted to engage these gentlemen. The latter course of action, however, would have most likely caused a bit of a stir in a public place. Instead, we decided to take notes and share this with our readers. As you read this, please keep the above Dante quote in mind. The characters in this “poem” are Person #1, Person #2 and Observer. ( I will not attempt to make anything rhyme!)
Person #1: "The oil companies are ripping us off each and every day. I know how to deal with this. Capture each oil company executive, put them in Dodger Stadium, bring in the Taliban and let the Taliban have a go at them. That should teach them! If we do that, the price will go down immediately.
Person #2: That would work. Do you know the incredible profits they make! God! Something needs to be done.
Person #1: "It's been only during the last two years that the price of gasoline has been escalating. It's Bush and his oil cronies in Saudi Arabia." Besides, if we got rid of the Saudis we would get our oil from Venezuela. You know their oil is the best!
Person #2: You’re right, it has only been in the last 2 years that oil and gas prices have risen. Look at the price of gasoline. It’s Bush.
Observer: This approach to solving the oil “crisis” is simplistic for a number of reasons. Throughout this discussion they have branded President Bush as a war monger and planet destroyer without actually ever exploring the causes or potential causes of high oil and gas prices. How handing oil company executives over to the Taliban makes sense is difficult to comprehend, unless as we suspect these people have absolutely no idea of who the Taliban is, and what they represented. The profits they moan about tell us that they have not actually read any corporate financial disclosure, nor have they even read any article from any source that actually cites the profit margin of oil companies – ca. 9.0-9.5%. Apparently they have never bothered to understand that 9% of a very large number (gross sales) is a large number (profits).
Since the 2006 elections, the Democrats, led by Ms. Pelosi & Mr. Reid have been in charge. When they took office, gas prices were in the $70/barrel range. Now they approach $125/barrel – a 75-78% increase. Needless to say these intellectually gifted individuals never mentioned Anwar or any oil reserve extant here in the good old USA. They are blessedly unaware that we have oil in the ground in the USA that approaches 160,000,000,000 barrels and propane gas that is in the trillions of cubic foot range. They do not know of the Bakken/Dakota find. They seem unaware that refineries are not available to refine the oil even if we could bring it up. Anwar was never mentioned, nor was the fact that Democrats have been vetoing drilling here for more years than President Bush has been in office.
The frosting on this part of the cake is that one of the parties (Person #2) is associated with Tiffany, and drives a Rolls Royce. (Disclosed during the conversation). Profits at Tiffany are nothing to sneeze at, but I imagine that gassing up the old Rolls is a bit of a stretch on the paltry income resultant from selling baubles to the rich. This whining brings to mind another stanza in Canto I of Dante’s Inferno”
“As a man is eager in prosperity
But when time brings him losses can be found
giving way to weeping and misery…”
Person #1: Did you hear Bush’s speech today when he was in Israel? What an idiot!. When I was watching CNN they played his remarks. The guy is a dope, and has no idea of what appeasement is all about. He’s there on the 60th anniversary of Israel and is talking about Iran, and terrorists. He is making a political statement, and bashing Obama. Presidents should not do that. Clinton and Pelosi made statements and told him off, as they should. What a jerk.
Person #2: Silent!
Observer: History neither is, nor ever was, a strong point with Person #1. He apparently has never read the progression from Baldwin to Chamberlain to Churchill just prior to WWII. Nor has he read more current information about Saddam and his open refusal to take the UN seriously, with the result that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died at his hand. The UN appeased him, cajoled him, winked at him and he killed more and more of his own people. Additionally he mocked the sanctions and got rich doing so. Again the UN did nothing. Iran today is another case in point. While we speak softly, Iran carries a big stick. It’s getting bigger the more we refuse to stop appeasing that rogue state. President Bush was simply stating a fact, and some – Obama and Carter – heard ringing in their ears. It is a fundamental concept that one only reacts to implied or real criticism if it applies to you. In this case, given Obama’s retort, President Bush’ comments were right on the mark.
Person #1: Have you seen the situation In Myanmar? Those people need a lesson in how to get things done – especially the military junta. We need to send in a few [US Army] Rangers and take out a few guys there. That will get the ball rolling.
Person #2: That’s not too easy, but we do need to feed these people.
Person #1: We can do it. It would not take much.
Observer: This exchange, while brief was instructive. President Bush, and by implication anyone who agrees with him, is a hawk who sees the use of force as the only means of getting things done. Interestingly, sending US Rangers to a foreign country to “take out a few guys” is acceptable, as long as we can feed disaster victims. Where is the logic? Where is the careful thought relative to the political implications of such an act? There is none. These guys know what needs to be done. That’s it.
As Thomas Sowell demonstrated in “A Conflict of Visions”, we are dealing with people who are unconstrained in their beliefs, and who “know” that if we simply left things to them the “correct” result would follow.
I could go on for a while as these two people analyzed the falling dollar, and the price of gold. They seemed to have opinions about just about anything, and these opinions were never based on any empirical information. They were regurgitations of the mainstream media, or reflections of personal political leanings, based not on fact but on emotions and theory.
Admittedly, all of our own prejudices come into play whenever we address political issues. That’s normal, and we do enjoy political discourse with people who do not necessarily agree with us. What was interesting about this “conversation” is that it took place in Beverly Hills, at a fine restaurant, and involved people who were by most common parameters, successful. I suppose the error we make is that we assume “successful people” are politically educated in addition to any other education they may have received. We came away from this encounter more convinced that there is little hope that we will ever have a voter populace that is informed, objective and willing to take the time to uncover the facts prior to making decisions about how they become involved in the political process.
We are constantly amazed when we mention that both Obama and Clinton intend to raise a variety of taxes, socialize health care, and generally promote Liberal platforms that will be costly, and the response from supporters or one or both of these presidential candidates is “Really?” “Why?”At times I believe a refrain from the ‘60’s and 70’s is still relevant – “there is no hope…”
B.S. Degree: Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Connecticut - MAGNA CUM LAUDA Ph.D. Degree: Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa,National Institute of Health Fellow: Major,
Winemaker & Co-Owner - De Angelis Wines.
Responsible for winemaking, marketing, and organization along with my partner - my wife.
Winemaker and General Manager
The Crush @ Paso Robles, Paso Robles, CA. Responsible for overall design of winery, winemaking budgets, planning and overall organization.
Senior Winemaker Salisbury Vineyards
I was responsible for all winemaking activities. This included developing the winery sites, identifying and purchasing all supplies and equipment, as well as assistance in all financial and budgetary aspects of the winery.
Viticulturist and Winemaker - La Fattoria De Angelis
Planted the vineyard in 1999 and have maintained it ever since. The first wine from the vineyard was produced in 2002.
Health Care Delivery Services, Inc. (HCDS) San Luis Obispo, California
President, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board
As chief executive, I was responsible for all corporate activities, policies and procedures relative to total administration of this health care corporation.
Other positions held in my career include:
University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Westwood, California
Project Director - UCLA Drug Treatment Project - Faculty Member Department of Psychiatry - Neuropsychiatric Institute
The White House: Executive Office of the President,Washington, D.C.
The White Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention (SAODAP)
Associate Director, Technical Assistance then Director of Manpower Development