California GOP hits rock bottom

“The last time California Democrats held this many Assembly seats, their victory lap was on horseback,” as the Mercury News is reporting.

“They’re on track to win at least 60 of 80 Assembly districts – their most since 1883, two years before the first gas-powered automobile – and 29 of 40 state Senate districts en route to another supermajority that marginalizes Sacramento Republicans.

“No GOP candidate for statewide office broke 40 percent of the vote in November, and no Republican has held statewide office since 2006. A Bush – the first one, 30 years ago – was the most recent Republican presidential nominee to win California’s electoral votes.

“The midterms cut California’s House GOP delegation in half to just seven of 53 seats. Orange County, where former president and conservative icon Ronald Reagan said good Republicans go to die, won’t have a GOP member of Congress following a triumphant Democratic effort to flip Republican-held districts won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

“Former state GOP vice chair Kristin Olsen, who led Assembly Republicans two years ago, pronounced the California Republican Party dead “partly because it has failed to separate itself from today’s toxic, national brand of Republican politics” in a post-election commentary that pondered the creation of a third party.”

The rest of the article is here.

C.I.A. briefing on Khashoggi solidifies Senators’ view of Prince Mohammed’s complicity

“A bipartisan group of senior senators on Tuesday said that a classified briefing by the C.I.A. director had only solidified their belief that Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, ordered the killing of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi,” as The New York Times is reporting.

“Prince Mohammed ‘is a wrecking ball,’ Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, told reporters after an hourlong briefing by Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director. ‘I think he’s complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible.’

“Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama and the Appropriations Committee chairman, echoed that ‘all evidence points to that, that all this leads back to the crown prince.’

“’This is conduct that none of us in America would approve of in any way,’ Mr. Shelby said.

“The clear and biting assessment put Republican senators at odds with the White House, which has steadfastly refused to cast blame on Saudi Arabia’s leadership for the death of Mr. Khashoggi, an American resident and Washington Post columnist. His killing sparked international outrage over the kingdom’s heavy-handed tactics and renewed attention to the Saudi-led war in Yemen.”

The article is here.

The Union graciously mentions our “Sierra FoodWin-eArt” magazine

I was glad to read a front-page article in The Union this morning featuring outstanding local photographer Kial James, who is being honored by the Nevada City Chamber in January. We are big supporters of Kial and often use his work in our magazine, the latest example being the cover of the current issue.

The article mentioned our relationship with Kial (a gracious gesture), except that the copy editor didn’t proofread the article closely enough before it was published, so it reads “Sierra FoodWin-eArt” instead of “Sierra FoodWineArt” — the proper name of this publication when we acquired it around a decade ago.

Newspaper copy desks typically read photocopied “page proofs” of the daily edition before it goes to print, and that’s where mistakes like these are found and corrected. In this case changing the word “including” to “such as” would have shorted the line, so the proper name (in this case, our magazine) should have aligned correctly in the newspaper. Otherwise some more “wordsmithing” (such as shortening “numerous” to “many”) might be needed, so that “Sierra FoodWineArt” showed up on a single line (see below).

There are a lot of gritty details in copy editing, that’s for sure. More details on this problem —  “how to best break a word at the end of a line of text” — is here.


Is Trump shorting the stock market?

” Markets plummeted Tuesday, with the Dow closing down nearly 800 points, or 3.10%,” as Barron’s is reporting. “The S&P 500 dropped 3.24%, and the Nasdaq lost 3.80%. Monday’s trade-linked rally now seems a distant memory. As trade jitters resurfaced, Treasury debt narrowed—raising fears that the yield curve could invert, signaling a recession. Markets will be closed Wednesday to honor the passing of President George H.W. Bush. “

Labs are a “man’s best friend” — from Presidents to the rest of us

We  are longtime fans of Labrador Retrievers. Our first lab when were married was Gretchen, a yellow lab who died in 2008 (“You were our first ‘child,’ a ‘counselor’ to us on occasion, and a constant reminder why a dog is a man’s best friend,” I wrote at the time). Now we have Whiskey, a “fox red” lab who has traveled with us all over, including sailboat camping at Lake Tahoe, and who fetches the New York Times daily.

Labs are world famous for their companionship. America’s VetDogs placed a specially trained service dog with former President George H.W. Bush. Sully, a 2-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever, was specifically matched to provide support and companionship to Bush in his daily activities, as VetDogs reported this past summer.

“Sully is named after former airline pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III, who became famous for landing a damaged passenger jet on the Hudson River in 2009. Sully the dog was raised and trained through the VetDogs prison puppy program, in which inmates raise future service dogs until the dog is about 15 months old.

“America’s VetDogs trains and places guide dogs for individuals who are blind or have low vision; hearing dogs for those who have lost their hearing later in life; service dogs for those with other physical disabilities; physical and occupational therapy dogs to aid in the rehabilitation process in military and VA hospitals, and PTSD service dogs to help mitigate the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.”

Credit: Jim McGrath’s Twitter account

On Sunday night, Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath honored the service dog who accompanied George H.W. Bush during the former president’s final months. “Mission complete,” McGrath tweeted, showing Sully the dog. Sully’s Instagram page showed the same photo.

Former President George W. Bush  “regrammed” the photo on his own Instagram, stating: “As much as our family is going to miss this dog, we’re comforted to know he’ll bring the same joy to his new home, Walter Reed,” the military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.

Cal and Northwestern announce bowl games

The schools I graduated from (Cal Berkeley for undergrad school, and Northwestern for grad school) are in college bowl games. Neither are renowned for their football programs, so it’s a treat. I’m also looking forward to seeing Iowa State, where one of my nephews was the quarterback in 2011-12, in a bowl game.

Alamo Bowl, Dec. 28
Big 12 vs. Pac-12 — San Antonio, Texas
No. 13 Washington State vs. No. 24 Iowa State

Holiday Bowl, Dec. 31
Big Ten vs. Pac-12 — San Diego, California
No. 17 Utah vs. No. 22 Northwestern

Cheez-It Bowl, Dec. 26
Big 12 vs. Pac-12 — Phoenix, Arizona
TCU vs. Cal

Northwestern has this wonderful new athletic facility in Evanston. On Wednesday, August 1, the school dedicated the transformational Walter Athletics Center on the north end of the Evanston campus. The new hub for daily student-athlete experience is a state-of-the-art development center with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

Bluebird skies and fresh snow at Lake Tahoe today

This is a screen grab of the view out the front door of our cabin on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore this morning: Bluebird skies and fresh snow.

It looks like about a foot at lake level, the first measurable snowfall of the season. And more snow is expected this week! (The “Cal” and California State flag on the big tree managed to remain protected, but the Weber Kettle barbecue in the foreground has a foot of snow on top of it. It is time to bring out the shovels.) A short video is HERE.

The ski resorts are opening:

(Source: Google)