Tomorrow, Monday, after a five-week recess, Congress will return to Washington and resume the usual routine of infighting, scheming, finger-pointing, prevaricating, back-stabbing, grandstanding and gridlock that has characterized its behavior for the last six years. But just as Louis B. Mayer once observed that it takes just as much money and work to make a terrible motion picture nobody goes to see as it does to make an Academy Award-winning blockbuster, it takes just as much money and work to provide the citizens of the United States with a farcical parody of our government’s legislative branch as it does to provide them with a genuine and effective one. And an essential element of having a Congress of any kind is [...]

 

At 9:25 AM on Thursday morning, I welcomed Tyrone Mohammed Nguyen Garcia-Vasilescu, principal lobbyist for the Association of Independent American Taxi and Limousine Operators, which is headquartered here in Washington DC, to my office for a consultation. His appointment was for nine o’clock, and to say he was in a state of extremely ironic high dungeon would be an understatement. “Would you believe,” he inquired as he plunked his ample frame on the couch in front of the picture window overlooking the White House and slammed his Louis Vuitton briefcase on the coffee table, “that I couldn’t get a cab?” “During rush hour, in this city,” I assured him, “absolutely.  That’s hardly unusual – even if it isn’t raining cats [...]

 

This afternoon, as regular readers of this Web log can readily imagine, my dear brother Rob Roy invited himself and his son Jason over to my home in Great Falls, Virginia, to watch the World Cup Championship on the oversize HDTV in the furnished basement. And to avail themselves of my extensive collection of world-class potables while they were at it, of course. I played soccer as a kid – I’m in that demographic – and I’d be the first to vouch that it’s a very absorbing game to play. Watching it, on the other hand, is a skill I have yet to fully acquire. So while, about thirty minutes into the match, the highlight of which was a putative [...]

 

When my sister-in-law Katje gets a bug in her ear concerning a certain subject, she’s pretty much implacable. So when she called me on Wednesday to make arrangements for dinner at my place in Great Falls, Virginia Saturday night, and insisted on doing all the necessary shopping and making everything herself so my brother Rob Roy and my nephew Jason could “play games and drink while I’m slaving away in the kitchen,” I knew something was afoot. It turned out to be her extremely liberal upbringing on the Upper East Side of New York City, which figures. As regular readers of this Web log know, Rob and I are also from New York – we grew up in Little Italy, [...]

 

Last night, Cerise arranged to meet me for dinner at La Taberna del Alabardero, which she recently discovered, and wanted me to try. It proves, she insisted, that world class dining doesn’t have to cost as much as I usually pay. I’m always up for new experiences, and well aware that there are some great values for your money here in Washington if you’re willing to seek them out, and I wasn’t disappointed. But this isn’t a restaurant review – this blog entry is about what happened before, when I stopped by the Round Robin Bar after work for a couple of pre-dinner drinks. What I saw when I walked in was quite a shock, really. There were Professor Martin [...]

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