2/21 Happy Presidents Day

Well, that was a wild weekend. On Friday so much happened that I still can’t wrap my head around it. I took a ride to the California/Nevada border and crossed into California on the Mojave Freeway. I got off an exit, pulled over, and stepped foot into my 30th state, California, for the first time. Only 20 to go!

Friday night the craziness arrived. I took co-workers out to eat at Catch ARIA and it was outstanding. The drinks were strong and the food was great. The only thing I’d say is I’d like bigger portions, but I’d also like a pony. The food was so good I don’t even care. I had the crab tempura and some oysters. It was an A+. I was also amazed at the “hallway network” between the casinos. One could go out to eat at ARIA, play a hand or two at Bellagio, and go see a hockey game at T Mobile Arena without going outside.

As I said though, craziness. After getting back to the place, I went up to the wine deck for a night cap. When I walked back in after that, there was a naked woman, clearly a drug addict, putting rolls of toilet paper on the bathroom floor. After an insanely calm discussion I got security to come remove her. I suspect there was so much more terrible to this story, but frankly the whole thing was a shock in the moment. As I said, the craziness arrived.

Anyway…

Happy President’s Day, especially to our 46th and current President. In terms of Presidents in my lifetime, I’d roughly rank Joe Biden and George H.W. Bush in a tie for third, clearly ahead of George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Trump, in that order. I’d rank Bill Clinton as the best, and Barack Obama as the clear second best, ahead of everyone else. Biden, like Bush the father, is suffering through a lot of inherited messes from an incompetent predecessor that is pulling down his approval ratings. Also like Bush 41 though, Biden is inheriting historic opportunities to change the world at the same time. Ultimately, his Presidency will be better than Bush 41’s because he is taking the opportunity to improve the lives of the people through historic investments. Once the infrastructure projects get rolling, some scaled down version of Build Back Better gets rolling, and he seats a historic Supreme Court justice, we will get a more full view of a President who inherited a complete and total mess from his predecessor, and did wonders with the rubble.

The elephant in the room right now is the potential for a Russia-Ukraine full scale war, that could come imminently. It’s important to understand this in a historical context- Russia has been trying to dominate the Ukraine for hundreds of years, mostly successfully. This is less about Putin’s personal ideology and more just Russian worldview. Russian Czars ruled the Ukrainian people for hundreds of years. Soviet Moscow absorbed the Ukrainians into the Soviet Union. Over the last 30 or so years Ukraine has been independent, but it has struggled at times economically and with maintaining serious democratic institutions. The Ukraine is an older society, distinct with its own institutions, culture, and religious practices, but Russia views it largely as their’s, and they have occupied parts for the last eight years now. The western powers have wanted to stand up these former Soviet Republics as independent nations for the past 30 years. For the past two decades, Putin has been pushing back. Western leaders may very well have days or hours to decide what this is worth to them, because I think we know what it’s worth to Putin.

There’s really not much to discuss in sports, other than how awesome this picture is. This Friday, James Harden is going to play for the 76’ers. This weekend though, they clearly welcomed him to the family. You can’t get more Philly than a picture with Allen Iverson.

Until tomorrow…

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