Ned Pepper's Outrages

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More millions for plutocrats

One Samuel Downing, "President and CEO" of a public hospital in Salinas, California, in which state thousands of Vietnam vets and others scratch a living collecting aluminum beer cans and live under bridges, was reported by the LAT today to have received a "supplemental payment" two years ago of $3 million to help him cope with the humiliation of dealing with his $668k a year salary. Well, he is now retiring and will get another $900k on top of his $150k a year pension. Dowming's response? "I believe I deserve it."
Now Ned would like to reiterate that this is a public hospital in California, a state dealing with massive unemployment, a housing crisis, a crisis in Medicaid funding (Ned rejects the idea that the crisis in Medicaid is in any way related to exorbitant salaries of those in the medical profession, by the way, naturally), and a breakdown in basic services such that some areas will soon begin to look like a poor area in Mumbai India. But the "Board of Directors" of the hospital say they "have to" pay such outlandish compensation or they won't be able to "attract the best administrators."
Ned suggests they could find someone suitable by randomly selecting a name from the Salinas phone book.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Earth Day at Starbucks

Ned's local Starbucks proudly announced they were giving away cups of coffee on Earth Day to everyone who brought in their own cup. Ned was there for a bit, and at times the line snaked back nearly to the door. It moved rapidly, however, because the free offer was only good for coffee or tea and not for any of the frou-frou drinks that our younger friends and members of the female persuasion seem to favor. Most everyone had their own cup.
Ned was back today for his first visit since Earth Day and his friends will be gratified to learn that the American Dream has been re-ratified: almost no-one brought in their own cup and the frou-frou drinks flowed like water.
So much for sensitizing our fellow countrypersons to the needs of the global environment.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Hubris of Power

Ned has been musing of late on what it is that endows American presidents with the certainty that they alone are competent to address all the conflicts between citizens of any particular country in the world outside of Europe, Oceania, China and India. First we have that Village Idiot George Bush sending the country to war in Iraq, spending a trillion dollars and killing hundreds of thousands, because 'Saddam tried to kill my dad.' Then he sent mercenaries and 'volunteers' into Afghanistan, that graveyard of empires for more than two thousand years, to address tribal squabbles that have been festering since Alexander the Great's time. Now, Barack Obama has gone the Village Idiot one better. He has refused to commit to removing American occupying forces from Iraq, while increasing troop presence in Afghanistan, all using money borrowed from the Chinese. Further illustrating this monumental and infuriating hubris is Obama's reliance on 'Predator drones' to kill anyone he likes, anyone who is 'suspected' of being a 'terrorist' or just anyone who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, including scores of children. At the same time, he prattles on about 'bullying in American schools' a concern that should sicken any sensitive person while he is raining death on anyone he chooses around the world.
And now, we have the spectacle of this country's involvement in yet another tribal dispute--this time in Libya, starring that former bosom buddy of John McCain, Muammar Qaddafi. You just can't make this stuff up.
Finally, comes word in today's NYT that this same Obama is considering 'sanctions' on the regime in Syria, which is trying to squelch a revolt from another tribe to its grip on power.
And so it goes. Dropping bombs on civilians in Japan (atomic, killing hundreds of thousands), Vietnam, Central America and God-knows-where. Killing members of wedding parties using the method of craven cowards in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and God-knows-where.
And the greatest champions of this brutality are obese, uneducated morons, sitting on their couches safely at home, many of them on 'disability' and railing about 'welfare cheats.' Or better yet, on their way to or from their latest church (read, cult) attendance, where they pray to Jesus and say the Lord's Prayer.
Ned fears that when one constantly sows the wind, one will inevitably reap the whirlwind.
And all this is done in our name.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Delta Sky Clubs Evaluated!

Ned promised his many friends that he would provide them with their EXCLUSIVE rating of Delta Sky Clubs, and here it is.
First, all sky clubs are not alike! For example, US Air charges for drinks so what's the point of paying to join you ask? Ned has no answer.

Here are the attributes of several of the Sky Clubs:
Portland: Nice crunchy atmosphere as one would expect from the Pacific NW. No spirits but decent beer and wine and the standard fare of crudites, hummous, nuts, cheese, cookies (avoid) various crackers (avoid) and decent coffee. Ned's friends may recall this is where he had the Curious Adventure with his little Eritrean friend who spoke virtually no English, resulting in a mixture of cabernet and pinot noir that had a certain splintery charm. Good newspaper selection. Grade A.

Seattle: A little more cosmopolitan than PDX and spirits are available, as are beer and wine. The usual foods and apples--a decided plus. The bar person understood English--a definite plus and offered Ned a double with his first approach--a definite minus. Grade A-.

Philadelphia: Recently re-opened. A curious sign asks patrons to "limit yourself to one drink" but there is no obvious enforcement as it is a self-serve bar. No decent mixers, however-- a definite minus. Typical foods but no decent nuts--a minus. Grade C+.

Cincinnati: A good sky club with an excellent cup of coffee as well as good choice of beers and spirits. Not self serve. The wine was a bit iffy. The food was as usual except the nuts had a curious and distasteful dusting of what appeared to be salt and spice, which Ned attempted to brush off, providing some amusement to those seated nearby. Ned spent a lot of time here and the newspaper selection was a bit limited. Grade B+.

Minneapolis: A bit down at heel but a decent selection of self serve spirits and beer and wine. The usual foods along with apples. Ned did not evaluate the newspaper selection as he was in a bit of a hurry. Grade A-.

Atlanta: There are several clubs at this vast airport and Ned checked out two. Both were very crowded and hectic, and seemed cramped, but then spirits flowed like water and there seemed to be quite a few Sneering Plutocrats in attendance. The usual foods and a good selection of papers. Grade B+.

Salt Lake City: Ned's favorite Sky Club, perhaps because that is where he joined and that is where he spends a lot of time between flights. Good food, and friendly bar staff, although they do try to limit patrons to "three drinks per hour" which does not cramp Ned's style at all, but alcoholics should take note. The two 'greeters' at the front desk told Ned their job was, in part, to 'keep the riff raff out.' Grade A.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ned's Forthcoming Blockbuster Post

Ned would like to announce that he is preparing a titanic post which will rate a number of Delta Sky Clubs! Watch for it!
Ned would like to ask his many friends why this harmless post is one of his most popular?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ned Assuages His Friends' Concerns

Ned would like to assure his many friends that he is safe and well, after braving thunder and rain yesterday and last night in an Undisclosed East Coast City (of Brotherly Love). Today is bright and sunny, and Ned will continue his researches. His friends will be glad to know that Ned has received an Upgrade for his return flight to Headquarters and so he will be engaging in his customary activity of sneering at passengers in Cattle Class as they file by.
Ned notes with disdain the news that She Who Will Not Be Named By Ned's "book"
sales have "spiked" and Ned attributes that to her "campaign slush fund's" purchase of thousands of copies to hand out to her gullible knuckledragging supporters.
May she, and all like her, roast in hell.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Declassified report on Ned's last trip

Ned is able to report that his last trip took him to the Sonoma Valley, as well as to other classified destinations which Ned is not presently at liberty to reveal. His researches found that Sonoma Valley wines are largely high-alcohol fruit bombs, dominated by Zinfandels. Even the chards were high in alcohol. Ned's friends know his disdain for high alcohol wines and so he found most of the SC wines disappointing and overpriced. He did however find a few gems: Michel-Schlumberger had a fine pinto blanc and a good cab. Pedroncelli had fine wines across the board and Ned especially liked the sauvignon blanc and the "friends red" even though the latter had a little too much alcohol (14.4) for Ned's liking. Alexander Valley Vinyards had its usual fine cab. Ned also can recommend the white sparklers from Iron Horse (no that was not a racist statement, Ned admonishes his critics, Iron Horse makes roses that are a bit grotesque to Ned's palate). Finally, Ned recommends Domaine Carneros for its fine sparklers, its decent snack plates and its sweeping views of the North Bay.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Ned's take on the "shutdown crisis'

Some of Ned's friends, mindful of the enormous respect his views carry with the cognoscenti and illuminati, have asked him to comment on the continuing 'budget' and 'shutdown' crises. First, Ned recalls all too well the earlier government shutdown, fomented by that self-styled intellectual but in truth, pinhead Newt Gingrich. It all ended in tears for the Republican knuckledraggers, but, like the groupers that will try to eat porcupine fish over and over again, they are slow learners. Ned has nothing but disdain for the Republicans in the House, as they are well in over their heads. His views towards them, as well as towards the room-temperature IQ voters who sent them to Washington, are simply and succintly expressed. But, as in most cases, his feelings have been summarized in another, earlier format; to wit, Henry V.
Henry's emissary approaches the French court with a message from the king, and he is admitted. This he tells the Dauphin, after that worthy says, 'What message to the Dauphin? I stand here for him." Ned's friends will recall that the Dauphin has been rash enough to send Henry a 'tun of treasure' consisting of mocking tennis balls.
The emissary says, "Scorn and defiance; slight regard, contempt, and anything that might not misbecome the mighty sender, doth he prize you at."
This Ned would hurl at the Republicans and their know-nothing supporters, in the sure and certain knowledge that they would gnash their teeth in impotent rage, assuming of course that they would understand it at all.

Whining Geezers, Take 322

In the latest chapter of Ned's Running Saga of the Whining Geezers, his local rag ran a letter to the editor from one such worthy, beginning with the obligatory 'I am a senior living on a fixed income', and then going on to decry free bus rides, and what he referred to as 'water subsidies' among other things that benefit the public at large. Ned's friends know his contempt for such persons unless they modify their self-description to 'a senior on a GUARANTEED income.' Many of Ned's friends would dearly love to have any income at all, and would be only too delighted for a 'fixed' one. So Ned advises these self-absorbed whining geezers to stay in their property-tax subsidized home, go to their property-tax subsidized cult, er, church, and not trouble others with their self-obsessed whining.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Narcissist of the Year?

Ned feels strongly that there are simply too few honors to bestow on the host of truly eligible politicians and political wannabes. Therefore, in view of the unprecedented reports of colossal narcissistic behavior that assault us daily, Ned, Prof Dr Q A Wagstaff OBE FRS, together with the anonymous Nominating Committee are moved to announce the creation of an Honorary Title of Narcissist of the Year.
From time to time the Committee will nominate candidates, but the final election will be held later in the year. The Committee wish to begin the process by offering its first three nominations: Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.
Trump's every utterance oozes narcissism of the highest order, but his most recent behavior, in which he joins the 'birthers,' and goes on to declare his candidacy for the Republican nomination, asserting he could easily beat Obama, makes his a true Narcissist.
Gingrich's nomination would be as much a Lifetime Award as a contemporary honor, but his most recent declarations concerning 'family values' arising out of his 'conversion to Catholicism,' coupled with his preposterous criticism of Obama's Libyan policy, make him a strong candidate.
Palin, an immodest person with much to be modest about, leads the field at this point. The very fact that she thinks anyone would be interested in the mindless drivel that constitutes her every public utterance shows her to be a Narcissist of the very first order.

Ned and the Committee welcome nominations from our friends.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

The truth of this old chestnut has been demonstrated to Ned yet again by the actions taken by his local bus service. The local has been paid for until recently half by Ned's local university, and half by fares with a minor subsidy from the city. However, the beancounters apparently got together with the do-gooders and decided that the amount of money taken in by fares was insignificant, given that the drivers had to deal with people who had no change, and check the ID cards of the local students every time they got on the bus. Moreover, they figured that the fares, modest as they were, especially for geezers (35 cents) were discouraging ridership, so they abolished fares altogether--the buses are now free.
Great idea, right?
Well, maybe. But what has happened is that abolishing of the fare has indeed led to a surge in ridership--so much so that the buses are now chronically late, and on certain runs it is impossible to find a seat. Moreover, as to be expected, the "homeless" have discovered that the buses are a nice, warm, relatively safe place to be, so they are usually to be found in abundance. And finally, many students will wait ten minutes for a bus, then ride it two or three stops, apparently to avoid walking a quarter of a mile.
All this adds up to a bus service which used to be reasonably on time, and reasonably uncrowded, but which now is ten to twenty minutes late--or sometimes on time which can mean that those who expect it to be always late may miss it on the rare times that it is in fact on time.
The free buses are now so popular that the service may be ruined, because there is no money to expand it to accommodate the surge in ridership.
Ned recalls a saying popularized by Yogi Berra, which is not so nutty after all: "Nobody goes there anymore--it's too crowded."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ned back from Assignment

Ned is back! Yesterday he was sitting on the terrace of the Domaine Carneros (Tattinger) winery drinking a bottle of brut in 70 degree sunshine. Today he is holed up in the rain at headquarters. Ned will have a full report later.
Sic transit gloria mundi.