Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bush Trimmed

Trump towering over the field is the lead political story to date, but the subscript is the utter failure of Jeb Bush.  Blessed with near 100 percent name recognition, and a bankroll as big as Trump's ego he is no doubt cursing, as his poll numbers dip into single digits.

Bush may be lucky that Trump siphons all the oxygen from the room.  Whenever Bush comes up for air, he sputters something so bad that he spends the next day walking it back.

 After this summer of their discontent, Republicans may fall into line behind an establishment candidate.  Bush's money and organization may yet grind out a victory.  But it is not likely.  Even his key fundraising consultants are leaving.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Colonial Buildings of Puebla, Mexico

Although Puebla is a bustling city of more than two million, the central core surrounding the Zocolo is charmingly colonial.  Puebla is a mere 75 miles from Mexico City.  Buses leave from the northern bus station, but a better option is to board a luxury bus from the airport.  Our flight arrived a little before 6AM allowing us plenty of time to clear customs and board our 7:30 bus.

Puebla is on the mole trail, justifiably famous for its cuisine.  For shoppers, Puebla is the home of colorful talavera pottery.  Churches are a tourist staple.  But our first set of pictures focus on the colorful colonial architecture.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Restaurants of Puebla

Puebla is a diner's delight.  The city is famous for mole poblano.  Moles are among the most complex sauces.  A mole negro can have more than one hundred ingredients.  The slightly simpler mole poblano can be made with a trifle over 20 ingredients.  For an authentic recipe see:

We had a nearly perfect mole poblano at El Mural de los Poblanos, named after its famous mural of the people of the town.  The mole was complex with a sliver of sweetness and a hint of heat.  Service was excellent.  A full breakfast with juice, coffee, entree, fruit, and rolls was about ten dollars.

This dramatic version of cafe con leche was extra.

Set off by the mural, the restaurant is stunning.

A prime contender for our best meal in Mexico is CasaReyna.  Service was attentive and informative, including advice on which mescals to order form their full carte.  For those unfamiliar with mezcal, it tends to be smokier and rougher than tequila.  Tequila is only made from blue agave.  Mezcal is made from other agaves. Some mescals made from low yield, and sometimes wild agaves, can be as intense for your wallet as for your pallet.  Fortunately, Roslyn and I preferred moderately priced mezcals.

The food was so good that I was to focused on gluttony to focus much on photography.  Our favorite dish was fried parsley.  It was half gone when I took this picture.

The shrimp dish below was also exceptional.

The rest of the meal is a blissful blur that I will leave to your imagination.  CasaReyna is must if you visit Puebla.

Although the squash blossom salad below was quite good, the rest of the food at Meson Sacristia de la Compania did not live up to the prices (higher than the moderate CasaReyna) or the beautiful setting.

The stew, and the mole sampler below were average at best.

But the beauty of the setting below is undeniable.  The courtyard with a cross in the prior blog entry is also from this restaurant.

Las Ranas is a far less formal, and thoroughly local establishment.  An al pastor taco carved off the vertical spit is the most popular entree.  Budget friendly, the taco is 8 pesos  (about sixty cents).

But my favorite was the chorizo with cheese.

Traditional cantinas were surprisingly rare in the old part of town.  One wonderful exception is the tiny La Pasita, known for the drink of the same name made from dried raisins.

Now for a cheap plug.  My two Southeast Asia travel guides are available on Amazon.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Iran Deal Is Like ObamaCare

Republicans worry not about Obamacare's problems, but rather its success.  If Obamacare becomes as popular as Medicare, and Social Security, the votes for repeal will be 50 nails in the political coffin for most elected Republicans.

Until now Netanyahu's opposition to  the Iran Deal has been a mystery.  Those in the know, nuclear scientists, the former head of Mossad, and key former American diplomats and cabinet officials on both sides of the aisle, have voiced support.  Now we know.  According to the Times of Israel,  Netanyahu has long sough to bomb Iran but has been stymied by his own cabinet.

If Congress blocks the Iran Treaty, Iran will have a short and unfettered path to nuclear weapons.  Bibi will get to bomb, bomb.  Netanyahu does not fear that the Iran Treaty will fail to block Iran's nuclear ambitions, but rather that it may succeed.

The man who helped bring us the Iraq war, wants a sequel.  Please stop Bibi and the other neo-clowns.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cruz Control

Ted Cruz has a  phony facial expression that betrays the conceit that he is the smartest person in the room.  He is probably right, at least when he is staring at his contenders for the Republican nomination.    Cruz capped off an ivy league education with a degree from Harvard Law School.  His rhetorical skills were honed as national debate champion and Texas Solicitor General.   More importantly, he is the top GOP political tactician.

From his first day in the Senate, Cruz surveyed the potential presidential field.  He was locked out of the establishment slot by Jeb, pre-bridgegate Christy, Walker, Rubio, and potentially Kasich.  His attacks on his own party leadership were strategic.  He positioned himself near the line, so no hits could get through to his right.

His analysis was flawless.  Current polls show that disgust with party leadership, has anti-establishment candidates dominating.   But as a religious man Cruz should appreciate that, "Man plans, God laughs."  Cruz is hanging on as Trump's rump, hoping for a turn around.  But, if Trump falters, Cruz is best positioned to pick up the droppings.

Friday, August 21, 2015

A Matter of Perspective

Ironically, the party that brought us the "I am not a witch," candidate is all in on a witch hunt.  The e-mail "scandal" has all the incendiary markings of the classic hunt.  Believing that Hillary must be guilty of something, the ends justify the meanness.   The media, unwilling to pay its debt to the truth, is a Greek chorus.   Even the grand old lady, the NY Times, has done more retracting than didacting.

Of course, prior Secretaries of State, including the beloved Colin Powell, used a private e-mail for official duties.  More important is to look at the small almost imperceptible ant hill this represents as viewed from the mountain of a real scandal.

Ambiguous and faulty intelligence was forged into an incontrovertible case for war with Iraq.  To date, the most we know is that out of tens of thousands of e-mails, a few e-mails contained material that, after Hillary sent them,  some agencies marked or considered classified.  The result of Bush and Chaney mishandling and interpreting intelligence was thousands dead and wounded.  Hillary's errors if any were hardly life threatening.  The war cost 2 trillion dollars.  Hillary's errors had no cost, unless you consider the millions spent fruitlessly investigating Benghazi.

Trump and others have proclaimed the handling of e-mails makes Hillary unfit to be president.  George W. Bush served two terms.  The Grand Old Party acts like it is emerging from the womb.  Trump and company should take a deep breath before wailing.  A slap on the back wouldn't be a bad thing either.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Anchors Away

The Trump Doctrine is to protect the fetus and deport the baby.  American exceptionalism is gaudy golden towers, not the progressive promises of the Constitution.  Trump is feeding red meat to a ravenous base.  At least it isn't fetal tissue.