I didn’t make it to the Chicago Cubs fan convention this year. It was only the second Convention I have missed since 1990 (the other was 2005). We’re leaving on a trip tomorrow morning, and I couldn’t justify the scalper prices for a ticket for just a day. Plus, I needed to get ready. I have, however, been following things as closely as I can on Twitter and the Cubs website, etc. So are a few comments from afar:
Three of the better tweets I saw were these:
Carrie Muskat: Fan asked #Cubs Ricketts about getting a job in baseball. Tom: "Are you left handed?"
Jesse Rogers: Then Hendricks:"I'm w Carl. The food." RT @ESPNChiCubs: What's the best thing about being a major leaguer? Carl Edwards: "Free food.
Carrie Muskat: Fan says wife was mad when he said winning World Series was best day of his life. Theo said next time, he should renew his vows same time.
No, this isn’t the title of a country music song.1 It’s a comment people have made about President Obama’s decision to stay in Washington after he leaves office. The President has said that he will stay in Washington so that Sasha, who is a sophomore at Sidwell Friends high school, doesn’t have to change schools.
Most past presidents have followed the tradition of George Washington and left town after their presidency. (Woodrow Wilson was the last president to stay in Washington, but he was too sick for it to matter.) But with today’s media, et al, leaving town is less a physical thing than mental. Today, it doesn’t matter where an ex-president is. If he wants to say something, the media will be there, one way or the other. Especially, I would imagine, in the case of Barack Obama.
But you have to wonder how much Barack Obama will be leaving, regardless of where he is living. He has already said:
In December of 2014, President Obama declared the end of our combat mission in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the Taliban didn’t agree, and they escalated their attacks against the Afghan government in 2015. It is one of the problems of fighting a war based on a calendar, instead of what is actually happening on the ground.
Eventually, President Obama agreed to slow the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan and, in January of last year, to allow our troops to do more. The fact that ISIS was showing up in Afghanistan gave the President an excuse for his action. By June, President Obama was allowing our forces to attack the Taliban and help Afghan forces keep control of provincial capitals.
“Confronted by Mr Assad’s atrocities, the West has done no more than rehearse diplomatic phrases. By failing to stand up for what it is supposed to believe in [including, inter alia, international law], it has shown that its values are just words – and that they can be ignored with impunity. …
President Obama is leaving the White House much as he entered it. An article in the Harvard Law Review. A big speech in Chicago next week (setting forth his vision for the United States, once again, I suppose). A major foreign policy speech on Israel between Christmas and New Year's day (with Secretary of State John Kerry playing Charlie McCarthy to President Obama’s Edgar Bergen). But mostly, President Obama seems to be leaving the White House with the same views that he came in with.
Some presidents change in office. The presidency and events change them – and change their views of the world. George W. Bush is a recent example. People see George W. Bush as the bumbler who got us into Iraq. But David Rothkopf, CEO and editor of the FP Group, sees a different George W. Bush:
As the new Congress is sworn in, and Donald Trump awaits his inauguration later this month, The New York Times reports on the Democrats’ plan:
“But as Republicans plan to reserve the first 100 days of Congress for their more partisan goals, Democrats are preparing roadblocks. …
[O]n many issues, Senate Democrats — including their new leader, Chuck Schumer of New York — are expected to pivot from postelection carping to active thwarting, using complex Senate procedures and political messaging to slow or perhaps block elements of Mr. Trump’s agenda.”
Last week, the Chicago Tribunereported that McDonald’s (more accurately, a McDonald’s franchisee in the Chicago area) is getting sued for deceptive trade practices. The complaint is that the price of some Extra Value Meals is actually more than the price of the items bought separately. In particular, the suit alleges that a Sausage Burrito Extra Value Meal costs $5.08, while the items individually cost $4.97 (in other words, 11 cents more). The suit claims that this violates Illinois law on consumer fraud and deceptive practices.
It also means Illinois has some pretty stupid consumers. If you buy an Extra Value Meal for more than the price of the items purchased separately, when all of the prices are right up there on the board in front of you, that is your own fault. The state should protect you from fraud. But they don’t need to protect you from your inability, or unwillingness, to compare prices that are right in front of you.