March 14, 2010

Beautiful home.

It's 53° and sunny here in Madison, Wisconsin, on the first long afternoon of daylight saving. It's great to be back from New York City, where the rain made nearly everything an ordeal. At least the hotel was a good retreat — the SoHo Grand has a pretty nice lounge, where you can hole up on cushy sofas, get enough to eat and drink — and WiFi — and pretend there is no outdoors.

From the room, New York looked like this:


Spacious, but bleak and traffic-y. Laguardia was an absolute hellhole — though there was a ray of light when the West Virginia basketball team — celebrating its Big East championship — came through at our gate.

Note the trophy and the sign (which said something like Big East Champions 2010). That video would have been way better if they were still singing — as they were when I dug out my camera — "We Are the Champions."


Kensington said...

Yeah, it's been bleak and gloomy and sodden all week in NY. Really makes me hate this city at times.

Ralph L said...

Did they hit the high notes?

Ron said...

No fun in The City even with the rain? What a shame!

Flexo said...

Hey -- its the urban village! That wonderful paradise of smart growth! It's the ultimate in the green ideal -- concrete.

rcocean said...

I thought NYC was all about what happened indoors. The bars, the nightlife, the museums, the arts.

Who cares about rain?

Franklin said...

I live right near there!

Jason (the commenter) said...

I've been in New York in the rain. Rain is good for your soul. I like it.

Fred4Pres said...

Thank God for the rain to wash the trash off the sidewalk.

Lem said...

Oh I know where that is. The big road signs are for traffic coming out of the Holland Tunnel.

In the corner where it says Tribeca there used to be a restaurant with a movie theater.

They has a Dinner and a movie deal.

Lem said...

thats they had.. as in not anymore.

Fred4Pres said...

All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.

traditionalguy said...

Did you catch a play? Or perhaps a symphony at Lincoln Center? The spring break is broken this year dur to weather.

Kirby Olson said...

Museum of Tenement life is nearby. Give you a point of comparison.

ricpic said...

That's close to Canal Street where all the meshuggahs go to search for hidden treasure in the schlock shops.

In the rain, which is good for the soul,
I walked and walked until my shoes were squishy,
Then ducked into a narrow luncheonette
And sitting at a counter stool
Gazed out through the neon streaky glass
At the bent forward destination bound,
Just sat there, warm and cushy.

peter hoh said...

After several days of rain and gloomy clouds, the sun broke through just about noon here in St. Paul. The temperature got up to 60 something for the first time this year. It was a glorious afternoon, most of which I spent in a windowless room.

Oh well.

Lem said...

My sister has been w/o power since Saturday morning.

Trees are down all over.

lucid said...

I have sat on those same couches in the lobby of the Soho Grand talking late in to the evening. It is a great lobby, but Soho doesn't really look much like Manhattan. Next time, have a drink outside at the rooftop bar at The Penninsula (5th and 55th).

What a view. But not for a rainy weekend. Though the last time I was there was in February, and we sat outside in 25 degree weather, but under radiant heaters. Very decadent.

MadisonMan said...


You mean you didn't hear laughter in the rain, walking hand in the hand with the one you love?

Mr. Sedaka has so much to answer for.

Peter V. Bella said...

Gee, mom, while you were away...

Matt Brown said...

Did you do the two night weekend stay from $500? With the $100 complimentary food and beverage credit?

Conserve Liberty said...

Pieced together by text messages and cell phone calls over the last 30 hours:

My daughter was to fly out of DC to Paris Friday noontime, with a connection in NY Friday evening.

Her flight from DC was canceled due to inclement weather in NY, so American peremptorily canceled her seat on the flight to Paris as well. At least they called her to tell her.

She told them she would take the train to NY and to put her back on the Paris flight. They did so and upgraded her to business class.

She took the train, but it came to a halt outside Phila. due to a power outage. She despaired of making her flight to Paris.

Then American called to tell her the flight to Paris was canceled, also due to inclement weather. The next available flight was scheduled for Monday, but she had no hotel reservations in NY.

She sat on the train, unmoving, for five hours before Amtrak bussed her to another train, on which she arrived in New York at midnight.

Fortunately she was able to stay with a friend Friday - and Saturday - The Monday flight was over-booked, so American booked her on another airline to Paris, upgraded to 1st Class, connecting through London, at 10:30 Sunday evening.

Her hotel reservations in Paris have been canceled by the hotel company, so she has made arrangements to stay with another friend in Paris.

Some hellish storm!!

What did people do before iPhones?

WestVirginiaRebel said...

Go Mountaineers!

Sometimes bleak and gloomy is good. You can have an excuse for doing things indoors-like sitting at the computer, for instance...

On a sad note, it looks like Captain Oveur has died. I know most people remember him from that movie, but to me he'll always be Jim Phelps (cue the self-destructing tape recorder!)

MadisonMan said...

I read that story and wonder: how do airlines make money?

Of course, they don't.

Chip Ahoy said...

The health bill is up.

You know, people complain a lot about there being so many pages, but actually, there aren't all that many words on each page. It's like triple spaced in GIANT PRINT. The real effort is in scrolling.

Theo Boehm said...

If you're wondering what goes on in the cockpit on days like this, you could do a lot worse than to read Captain Dave's blog, Flight Level 390.  His descriptions of saving every drop of fuel are worth checking this blog out on their own.

Of course airlines are broke.  That's their current and likely perpetual state.  Captain Dave has to fly his "Electric Jet" (one of the AirBus A300-series fly-by-wire airliners) like one of those drivers you see tailing semi-trailers at 15 feet and coasting a lot to get pulled along in the slipstream to save gas.  "Mother" (the unnamed airline company) pretty much monitors every dribble of kerosene, and woe to the pilot who doesn't measure up.  Weather like we've been having throws modern airline pilots into a panic, not because of the problems of the old days, like navigating with a sextant, slide rule, and #2 pencil, while trying to fly through storms figuring winds from really crappy weather data. No, modern pilots have GPS, good radar, and more navigation aids and computing power at their fingertips than NASA in 1969.  Gastric distress comes from the need to fly through the weather we've been having on the cheap.  No going around storms the "wrong" way.  And flying into bad weather not only shakes up the PAX (airline-speak for passengers), but can actually use a lot more fuel, what with winds and having to change altitudes.  There's a real art to saving money while flying an airliner, the ins-and-outs I could only guess at before reading Captain Dave.

So, the next time you are PO'd at an airline for having to sit on the runway for weather delays, please consider what the poor bastards in the cockpit are going through.  Now, none of this would happen if we all were willing/forced to pay fares like they did back in 1969.  But if you want to pay bus-fare prices, you're going to get a bus.

Only with jet engines and wings.

Theo Boehm said...

I shouldn't say "non of this would happen," because, of course, they had plenty of weather and mechanical delays back in 1969. And people were trapped, and delayed and PO'd in airports all the time.

No, what I meant by "non of this" was the unrelenting pressure on every aspect of airline operations to save money, from the often shockingly underpaid pilots and flight crew, to the increasingly dodgy offshore maintenance, to the lack of food, and the generally crummy state of cleanliness and spiff in the airplanes.

In addition to the usual and perennial problems of air travel, you've got Bankrupt Airways flying these days, and, frankly, I think I'll drive.

John Burgess said...

As a Georgetown alumnus, my joy at WV's joy is subdued, to say the least.

So, I'll offer up my WV to WV:

madawaskan said...

Yep looks like the public option is back in-

page 116

Subtitle B—Public Health
Insurance Option





madawaskan said...

The sense of the House that the members who vote for the public option should dis-enroll from their current plan and enroll in the public option is also included in there somewhere.

Probably as non-binding as prunes.

madawaskan said...



It is the sense of the House of Representatives that Members who vote in favor of the establishment of a public, Federal Government run health insurance option, and senior members of the President’s administration, are urged to forgo their right to participate in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) and agree
to enroll under that public option.

(I don't know how they are numbering this and calling it only 90 pages because this looks like it is on something like page 1180 of the pdf.)

btw here is a link to the pdf-

House Budget Reconciliation PDF

Lem said...

We need Palin to work her magic again.

Is the bill in PDF format where one can do keyword searches?

J Lee said...

If your hotel was that close to the Holland Tunnel entrance, the rain probably held the exhaust fumes from the Canal Street stop-and-stop-and-stop-and-stop-and-maybe-go traffic down a bit.

madawaskan said...


Yes, and you can cut and paste.

I think the reason the bill appears longer and goes for more pages in the pdf is because as Chip said the print is extra large.

Lem said...

you read my mind md..

the louisiana purchase is still on too!!!

page 2100


this time the list grew i think.

madawaskan said...


I just looked at this from National Review-

Foster is saying this-

The Democrats' 2,309-page reconciliation bill was released for public viewing Sunday and will begin the mark-up process in the Budget Committee Monday at 3pm. Contrary to the Democratic pledge to post the reconciliation measure 72 hours before consideration, the bill posted is a dummy — or a "shell" as Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) put it — an early version of the House bill that cleared key committees in 2009, thus making it eligible for the reconciliation process under budget rules. Once that bill clears the the committee it will be gutted and replaced with the closed-door "fixes" agreed upon by Congressional Democrats, and appended with an unrelated student loan bill.

madawaskan said...

So maybe this doesn't have any of the new agreements in it.

Weird-I guess it's a way to get around their promise of posting the actual text of the reconciliation for 72 hours before voting on it.

That's why Rep. Ryan is calling it a shell.

madawaskan said...

Yep-it's right here on the cover-

This division may be cited as the
‘‘America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009’’.

Lem said...

holy cow, page 2099 and 2100 is a pork index.

what does health care have to do with student loans?

21 This division may be cited as the ‘‘Student Aid and
22 Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009’’.

they tacked on some goodies for labor unions.

Lem said...

are you saying this is a bait and switch?

don't people go to jail for that?

madawaskan said...

Lem I don't know why they posted that.

Maybe they will still wait 72 hours after posting the final version of the budget reconciliation.

I don't know what the purpose of this Sunday night post was.

At the very least they are disorganized. Glad I only wasted a couple of minutes on it. If it had been an unsearchable document I might have actually tried to read the stupid thing.

I'm off- have to wake up at 5:00 a.m.

Lem said...

thanks for the heads up.

Lem said...

page 29


the road to a death panel seems to be via rationed care.


(1) IN GENERAL.—There is established a private-public advisory committee which shall be a panel of medical and other experts to be known as the Health Benefits Advisory Committee to recommend covered benefits and essential, enhanced, and premium plans

jumping ahead..

(1) RECOMMENDATIONS ON BENEFIT STANDARDS.—The Health Benefits Advisory Committee shall recommend to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this subtitle referred to as the ‘‘Secretary’’) benefit standards (as defined in paragraph (4)), and periodic updates to such standards.
In developing such recommendations, the Committee shall take into account innovation in health care and consider how such standards could reduce health disparities

skipping down..

BENEFIT STANDARDS DEFINED.—In this subtitle, the term ‘‘benefit standards’’ means standards respecting—
(A) the essential benefits package described in section 122, including categories of covered treatments, items and services within benefit classes, and cost-sharing; and (B) the cost-sharing levels for enhanced plans and premium plans (as provided under section 203(c)) consistent with paragraph (5).

(A) ENHANCED PLAN.—The level of cost-sharing for enhanced plans shall be designed so that such plans have benefits that are actuarially equivalent to approximately 85 percent of
the actuarial value of the benefits provided under the reference benefits package described in section 122(c)(3)(B).
(B) PREMIUM PLAN.—The level of cost sharing for premium plans shall be designed so that such plans have benefits that are actuarially equivalent to approximately 95 percent of the actuarial value of the benefits provided under the reference benefits package described in section 122(c)(3)(B)

Lem said...

Actor Peter Graves is dead..

Hi, I'm Peter Graves.


jaed said...

I don't know what the purpose of this Sunday night post was.

Presumably it's to confuse people. By the time the newsies realize the import of the term "shell bill", they'll already have convinced everyone that the honest, doughty Congress put the actual bill up.

(Side note: as far as I can tell from the description of "premium", this means it will be illegal to purchase insurance that actually covers everything. If you have a costly disease or injury, you're still going to be paying five percent, which means you're still going to go bankrupt. Yay, Congress. Sigh.)

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