Monday, July 28, 2014

Barak’s Bigger Bite In the Silicon Valley

On July 23, President Obama made his 18th incursion into the Silicon Valley, once again seeking (and finding) supporters with deep pockets. One fundraiser took place in the Los Altos home of real estate tycoon George Marcus, whose fortune is estimated at more than $400 million. The medium home value in George’s Los Altos neighborhood is $2,234,800.

A couple would have had to donate $32,400 in order to have both lunch and a photo opportunity with the President. This would have been a blind faith, repast payment, for donors were unaware beforehand what culinary offering they would be sinking their teeth in to.

For any future such photo-op with Obama, any participating donor might want to ensure that they present a beautiful smile when the camera clicked. If not, they may be reluctant to show the resultant and expensive photograph to their envious and poorer friends.

If Obama’s Northern California fund-raising leaders were truly astute, before his next trip there, they should add another $2,000 per abnormal tooth to the required donation. This could possibly help guarantee a picture-perfect smile for each contributor.

Any potential, generous donor who may have lost a tooth or two, or has crooked or irregularly spaced teeth, should work with Obama’s people prior to any in-home fundraiser. They could investigate the possibility of a dental implant to repair any facial flaws. Donors should not fret if they missed the recent mid-July soiree, since Obama is sure to come back many more times this election cycle.

When it comes to implants, there are many dental professionals available in the Silicon Valley to repair anyone’s imperfect smile. A myriad of such advertisements appear each week in The San Jose Mercury News, the Valley’s most influential newspaper. Yesterday’s edition contained five of them.

During July, advertisements ranged in size from a small, three-column by five-inches, to one that covered a full-page in full-color. The latter was placed by an implant center with three offices near to Obama’s Northern California fund-raising communities. It also has twenty-eight more nationwide, and does not list a price for an implant.

One implant center ran four, full-color, thirty-three inch advertisements in the last week, offering implants for $1,990. That price is a 50 percent reduction, and they boast of a 98 percent success rate.  Obama’s team would welcome such numbers with his current approval rating hovering in the low forties, yet it far surpasses the 16 percent approval rating of Congress.

Another advertisement headlined “Lose Your Teeth…Lose Your Taste of Life,” and asked potential donors if they were “Tired of avoiding social occasions?” If so, for $2,995, that implant center can renew any client’s taste for life,” and have the recipient feel secure enough to have their photograph taken with Obama.

A small, full-color advertisement placed by an “Experienced Group of Implantologists,” offered a dental implant for only $1,490. In minuscule type, it was noted that a needed abutment crown was extra, and it could cost up to $600.

The only group located in Obama’s Los Altos fund-raising neighborhood was one who ran a thirty-three inch advertisement in black and white. Their headline would capture the attention of any reluctant donor who planned to attend an upcoming fundraiser, when they modestly declared themselves to be,  “Your Dental Implant and Smile Makeover Specialists.”

Donors still have time to get prepared to say “cheese, or “cheesy” if their next expensive campaign meal is not up to their taste. They should be pleased that the President is willing to come back and share a pleasant smile with them, instead of trying to sink his teeth into more meatier subjects like immigration reform, the Israeli-Gaza War, and trying to stop Putin’s actions which are eating away at our country’s reputation as a world leader.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A World Cup Divided

We live in a world that’s quite divided, and Sunday’s World Cup final will evoke emotional divisions between countries, and perhaps even with citizens of the same land.

In the U.S., Divided We Fail

It’s obvious that there’s a deep division in both Houses of Congress with little room for anything that resembles a compromise. The future offers no narrowing of the divide with Tea Party Republicans and the GOP’s Old Guard fighting for conservative support, while their Democratic counterparts muddle along, tripping over one another.

The Executive branch seems to be in a confused whirl of its own, and in cases of ideological importance, the Supreme Court can be counted on to deliver a 5 to 4 vote. There’s an immense gap between the overly affluent one percent and the rest of us, and shows no sign of diminishing.

Our local cable system, offers a one-channel separation between the alpha and omega broadcasts of Fox “News” and MSNBC, neither of which deliver anything more than right and left opinions.

What in the World
Is Going On Today?

When it comes to the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina, there’s an intimate connection between the two countries, beyond the obvious one that Germany represents Europe, while Argentina represents Latin America.

There has been a closer political connection before, during and since the end of World War Two.

From 1857 to 1920, during the first wave of European immigration, nearly 70,000 immigrated to Argentina from the German Empire. During World War II, Argentina’s Minister of War Juan Peron had early on supported the Axis war effort, and did so until the last days before Germany’s collapse.

The country welcomed thousands of Germans after the War, including notorious Nazi war criminals Adolf Eichmann, Klaus Barbie (the Butcher of Lyon), Dr. Josef Mengele, and Nazi collaborators fleeing from Post-War trials in Europe.

The Loyalty Dilemma

Members of Germany’s Nazi Party that fled to Argentina are not around today, but there’s a possibility that either their very elderly children, or their grandchildren, sympathizers or supporters live there. and have a dilemma to face. The same holds true for today’s Argentinians who emigrated from Germany through the centuries.

When the two teams meet up, will they be cheering for their countrymen in Argentina to win, or will they still be loyal to their Fatherland?

In a divided world, this could become a perplexing problem, or an easy decision. This select group could cheer for both teams, and although the game cannot end in a tie, one of their countries will be a winner.

They are faced with a rather welcomed choice.

I have chosen not to watch the game, and will be in San Jose attending a brunch of the Silicon Valley Holocaust Survivors Association in the morning, and then attending the Obon Festival in Japantown. There I will mingle with Japanese-American friends, many of whom were illegally incarcerated in ten American internment camps during the War.

It will be uplifting to share the day with these two groups of winners.