There are probably 9 people in the US who fully understand the healthcare debate. The question isn’t whether you “like” Obama or the healthcare law. The question isn’t whether you think healthcare is good or bad. The question isn’t whether your costs will go up or down. The question is whether Congress, in passing the law, acted within its authority. I haven’t read the law, nor do I plan to. As I understand the primary issues, the Supreme Court was considering whether Congress could pass the law under the Commerce Clause powers, which apparently it cannot, or the power to tax, which apparently it can. Can you speak articulately on the Commerce Clause or Congress’ power to levy taxes? No? Perhaps you should consider the wisdom of spouting off about this law if a) you don’t understand the role of the judiciary in the 3 branches of government or b) you don’t understand the Commerce Clause or Congress’ power to tax. If you want to throw around opinions because you don’t like the President (or apparently the super conservative Chief Justice who wrote the majority opinion, supporting the law), fine, but acknowledge your opinion for what it is…a condemnation of ideas which really aren’t relevant to whether the law is constitutional or not. I thought so many people were concerned about “judicial activism.” Well, here 5 justices didn’t confuse their opinions for the law…they assessed the law. Another test — if you haven’t read any part of the Constitution, haven’t read the Bill of Rights, can’t name at least a majority of the Justices, and you spend your nights keeping up with the Kardashians, perhaps you should let people who know a little more than you wax philosophical about major constitutional issues.

– Andrew Goldner
French Open Trip: Ooh La La

We must confess. We are hard core tennis addicts. Not only do we play, we watch. Like any novice recognizes Sharapova, we can pick-out Cibulkova, Safarova and Petrova in any Eastern European line-up. One of our first  dates: the US Open in NYC-opting for the night session over Broadway. With the 24/7 Tennis Channel,  we rarely miss a big match even if it’s a re-run of Connors/Ashe or our favorite show, Tennis Destinations, a travel show about our obsession.  So with a surplus of sky miles, we jumped at the chance to go to this year’s French Open: Paris and the best players in the world. Could it get any better in tennis geekdom?

Yes, it could. Like kids in Candyland, we found ourselves inside the walls of the famed Roland Garros tennis venue on the outskirts of the City of Lights. Amazingly, we were in the front row of the players’ VIP box. Slapping ourselves for reality checks, we were guests of the South American player battling on the red clay before us. Our great seats were compliments of CCC tennis pro, Pablo Gras. In the small world department, Pablo befriended and played junior tennis in Argentina with Juan Ignacio Chela, formerly a top 15 player in the world. Not only were we treated to a display of high level tennis, we were warmly welcomed and embraced by El Flaco’s family and coaches.

Because of our friendship with Pablo, we were also invited to the players’ lounge beneath the stadium. Doing our best  not to appear as stalkers, we got a glimpse of where the players and families relax when not playing. This surreal basement scene included a salon, bar, cafeteria and game room with at least 20 flat screens showing the ongoing matches. As Serbian player, Janko Tipsarevic was getting a haircut to our left, we gazed at Marion Bartoli speaking Italian while sipping an espresso. Suddenly, the elder Federer donning his trademark RF cap brushed by having just returned from seeing his son dismantle yet another opponent. We gladly joined his group at the bar for a victory beer all the while surveying the room that included the likes of doubles’ specialist Max Miryni and Frenchman Nic Mahut celebrating a win over Andy Roddick. We also spied young victorious Americans, Melanie Oudin and Jesse Levine, chatting about their next round opponents.

For a couple that is fairly well-travelled, we can say without hesitation that this was by far our best trip to date. Combining a romantic city with our shared passion was spot on. Thanks to Pablo, we got an up close and intimate look at the tournament. We also found a new favorite player to cheer on: Vamos, Chela! We are most appreciative to you both for your generosity.

We hope to see you on the courts. Happy hitting!

French Open Trip: Ooh La La

We must confess. We are hard core tennis addicts. Not only do we play, we watch. Like any novice recognizes Sharapova, we can pick-out Cibulkova, Safarova and Petrova in any Eastern European line-up. One of our first  dates: the US Open in NYC-opting for the night session over Broadway. With the 24/7 Tennis Channel,  we rarely miss a big match even if it’s a re-run of Connors/Ashe or our favorite show, Tennis Destinations, a travel show about our obsession.  So with a surplus of sky miles, we jumped at the chance to go to this year’s French Open: Paris and the best players in the world. Could it get any better in tennis geekdom?

Yes, it could. Like kids in Candyland, we found ourselves inside the walls of the famed Roland Garros tennis venue on the outskirts of the City of Lights. Amazingly, we were in the front row of the players’ VIP box. Slapping ourselves for reality checks, we were guests of the South American player battling on the red clay before us. Our great seats were compliments of CCC tennis pro, Pablo Gras. In the small world department, Pablo befriended and played junior tennis in Argentina with Juan Ignacio Chela, formerly a top 15 player in the world. Not only were we treated to a display of high level tennis, we were warmly welcomed and embraced by El Flaco’s family and coaches.

Because of our friendship with Pablo, we were also invited to the players’ lounge beneath the stadium. Doing our best  not to appear as stalkers, we got a glimpse of where the players and families relax when not playing. This surreal basement scene included a salon, bar, cafeteria and game room with at least 20 flat screens showing the ongoing matches. As Serbian player, Janko Tipsarevic was getting a haircut to our left, we gazed at Marion Bartoli speaking Italian while sipping an espresso. Suddenly, the elder Federer donning his trademark RF cap brushed by having just returned from seeing his son dismantle yet another opponent. We gladly joined his group at the bar for a victory beer all the while surveying the room that included the likes of doubles’ specialist Max Miryni and Frenchman Nic Mahut celebrating a win over Andy Roddick. We also spied young victorious Americans, Melanie Oudin and Jesse Levine, chatting about their next round opponents.

For a couple that is fairly well-travelled, we can say without hesitation that this was by far our best trip to date. Combining a romantic city with our shared passion was spot on. Thanks to Pablo, we got an up close and intimate look at the tournament. We also found a new favorite player to cheer on: Vamos, Chela! We are most appreciative to you both for your generosity.

We hope to see you on the courts. Happy hitting!

I didn’t think much about the dire warnings of an approaching hurricane called Katrina…. I attended a Homeland Security principals meeting on Thursday, August 30, and returned to the State Department to check once more on plans for securing our offices in the Gulf of Mexico. Then I flew to New York…. That evening, upon arriving at the Palace Hotel, I flipped on the television. Indeed, the hurricane had hit New Orleans. I called Secretary of Homeland Security Mike Chertoff, inquiring if there was anything I could do. “It’s pretty bad,” he said. We discussed the question of foreign help briefly, but Mike was clearly in a hurry. He said he’d call if he needed me. I hung up, got dressed, and went to see Spamalot…. The next morning, I went shopping at the Ferragamo shoe store down the block from my hotel, returned to the Palace to await Randy and Mariann’s arrival, and again turned on the television. The airwaves were filled with devastating pictures from New Orleans. And the faces of most of the people in distress were black. I knew right away that I should never have left Washington.


The Wounds of Katrina —Condoleezza Rice, in her new memoir, writes about the racially charged disaster that was Katrina and how she failed to anticipate its magnitude.


(via cheatsheet)

(via nolanews)

A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.

Mark Twain (via azspot)

(via azspot)

Time is like thin ice. Our days are spent living like ants in a mound, collecting our substance to survive the winter; to retire in comfortable plaid pants, blue socks, and golf shoes. All the while, the ice is melting, thin and slick. We don’t notice it until struck with tragedy. We or a friend are mangled in a car wreck, and we reflect on how fragile the whole thing is. Our wives and our children become beautiful again. Our priorities change as we realize we are temporary beings. It is with this in mind that Solomon writes his book. Here is where aged couples renew their vows. But not all of us are granted such severe mercy. Death is a difficult thing to process when no hint of it is at hand. We may never hear the ice crack. Mark Twain was right in assessing that the two elements of success are determination and ignorance. Success being the six-figure salary and ignorance being a blindness to its temporal capacity. Beyond the gravity binding us, our souls travel alone. We ascend without anchors of material possessions. We ascend empty-handed; our shells, neatly dressed in pressed suits, set snugly into caskets. The graves are all silent. The caskets are vacant. Stalin has no more wisdom for us. Nietzche is preserved in books, having forgotten to lift his casket lid and tell us he was right. Muhammad gives us the slip. So does Buddha. It is Christ alone who defeats the grave. He came back from death. Nothing left in the tomb but echoes and cobwebs. And so we do well to listen to Him with the ears of dying men.

Donald Miller (via azspot)

(via azspot)

Car No. 77

During my morning commute, I think. The press of business. Looking forward to a relaxing weekend. The welfare of my children encountering life’s struggles. Common thoughts as I make the daily drive. But yesterday, my mind focused on a rather strange topic- the passing of Dan Wheldon.

Unfamiliar with motor-sports, I think it was my own car handling in a BMW loaner at speeds nearing 80 mph that made me think about this young man lost in his prime. It was if my brain was on a replay loop of the horrible car crash. I backed off the gas and merged back to the slow lane. Death came without notice to this champion.

This type of racing is not for the fainthearted. When traveling in excess of 220 mph in an open cockpit, the driver covers the length of a football field in less than a second. I suspect that there is little that even the most experienced driver can do when faced with a sudden emergency just ahead. Minimal contact between competitors’ exposed tires can result in a lethal setting.

Maybe the powers over this sport may rethink safety concerns after such a tragedy. I envisioned the racer’s widow and the tough talk she had to deliver to her fatherless children. I read that this smiling Brit was popular not just among fans but also fellow racers. What a shame. j

My heart is drumming in my chest so hard it aches, but it’s the good kind of ache, like the feeling you get on the first real day of autumn, when the air is crisp and the leaves are all flaring at the edges and the wind smells just vaguely of smoke - like the end and the beginning of something all at once.

– Lauren Oliver (Delirium)

(Source: myquotelibrary, via coypatalagsa)

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery - celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: ‘It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to.’

– Jim Jarmusch (via myquotelibrary)

(via misslippywins)