Have That Sinking Feeling?

Millennium TowerThe Millennium Tower rises 645 feet above San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. Umm, make that 643 feet 8 inches. Since the building opened in 2009, it has sunk sixteen inches. Oh, and it’s tilting two inches at its base – fifteen inches at the top… so far. Anchoring it to compressed sand eighty feet below ground instead of bedrock a hundred feet deeper may not have been such a good idea. Owners of the 400 luxury condominiums – local hero Joe Montana is one – have filed a class-action suit against the developers. Of course the developers point the cause of the problem somewhere else: excavation for the adjacent Transbay Transit Center.

San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence
San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence

Along with the building itself, values of the residences are sinking: the asking price of a one-bedroom unit was recently slashed from $3.8 million to $3.6 million. So far there are no takers.

A Lifetime of Public Service

kids_smoking_cigarettesRep. John Boehner served the citizens of his Ohio district for more than twenty years in the House of Representatives, and the United States as a whole as House Minority Leader, House Majority Leader and, from 2011 until resigning in 2015, Speaker of the House. Public service runs deep in Mr. Boehner. The long-time Camel smoker has just been elected to the board of directors of Reynolds American, Inc., the second-largest U.S. tobacco company. He will no doubt continue his diligent work promoting the health and welfare of people everywhere.

Just a Spoonful of Sugar…

sugarbeetsMany years ago my food-writer mother gave me a copy of the book “Sugar Blues” by William Duffy. The author blamed sugar for everything from acne to loose stools. We knew sugar was empty calories and was bad for our teeth. We all knew the real villain in an unhealthy diet was saturated fat. The USDA told us so with its Food Pyramid.

Guess what – sugar is bad, much worse than we’ve been led to believe. Turns out the sugar industry spent a lot of money commissioning purported studies to convince us that sugar wasn’t so bad. The National Confectioners Association claimed children who ate candy carried less poundage than those who didn’t. Coca-Cola funded a non-profit group to fight obesity, but claimed it had nothing to do with it.

Besides, making us a nation of fat people, sugar is also responsible for diabetes and heart disease. The scientific journal JAMA Internal Medicine has published a report disputing the sugar industry’s claims. Something to think about when you’re ordering that venti coffee-flavored beverage with whipped cream on top.

In fairness to my mother, she also introduced me to Calvin Trillin, with “American Fried,” a collection of pieces he wrote while travelling the country as a roving correspondent and trying to find something decent to eat.

Tell It Like It Is

tellitnixonThe Donald may or may not be gaining on Hillary in the presidential race… depending on which poll you look at and on which day you look at it. Trump has ardent supporters who say they appreciate a non-establishment candidate who does not care about political correctness, who tells it like it is.

Newsweek – remember Newsweek magazine? – has taken a deep dive into the Trump Organization, its worldwide business activities, and how that could affect national security.

Read Newsweek’s telling it like it is here.tellaaron-neville

Do You Need More To Worry About?

someone_is_wrong_on_the_internet1246485981The San Francisco Giants dismal performance began after trading third-baseman Matt Duffy. U.S. oil production has decreased along with the quality of rock music. Maybe you’re concerned because every Hillary Clinton scandal the Republicans promote just solidifies her position in the polls. Or is it that Donald Trump’s rise in the polls coincides with the support of Vladimir Putin? Did you know that the number of people strangled in their bed sheets rises with the increased consumption of cheese?

Click here to view more disturbing statistics.

Test Scores – Then and Now

missileWhen I was in school, a passing test score was 70%. That 70% meant a grade of “D.” If you are a contractor building weapons systems for the Department of Defense, a score of 45% merits a $2 billion performance bonus.

Continue reading Test Scores – Then and Now