Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chocolat Chaud

Dear Friends,

As you may remember, Jane and I have been on a quest to find the best chocolat chaud.  As I said in my last post on this critical subject here, we thought that the best chocolat chaud was at the Gran Caffe in Beaulieu.  A couple of people told us that we needed to try the chocolat chaud at Angelina (here).  Well yesterday, we finally visited Angelina on the rue de Rivoli in Paris.  This establishment is much fancier and more pretentious than any of the Villefranche/Beaulieu contenders.  There was a rather long line to get in and I could not wait so I went into the to go line and got a chocolat chaud to go.  It was just under 5 euros.  At first glance it did not appear to be as thick and creamy as the chocolat chaud at Gran Caffe, but with the first sip, I knew that it was a real contender for the championship.  The presentation of the real thing at the table is incredibly beautiful and far more sophisticated than any in Villefranche/Beaulieu.

It may have been better than the Gran Caffe even though it was a warm day and not conducive to chocolat chaud.  The sweet/bitter combo of the chocolat was perfect, and it was perfectly creamy, but it was not quite as thick.  If I consider the price to value ratio, Angelina really doesn't stand a chance.

The 8.2 euros charged by Angelina needs to be compared to 2 to 2.5 euros in Villefranche/Beaulieu.  So I declare the Gran Caffe in Beaulieu as the champion.

Thanks for reading and please comment,
The Unabashed Liberal

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Villefranche-sur-mer September 2017 - 3

Dear Friends,

The bay of Villefranche (called the rade) has been very busy for the last few days.  It is the time of the Trophée Pasqui, a celebration of traditional sailboat designs.  It is also still part of the summer season although the end of it.  A couple of days ago there was not just one but two big cruise ships in the rade to spoil the view and drop off way too many people for this beautiful little town.  I am told that somedays in the summer there are three of these monsters.

The cruise ships leave in the evening and the rade becomes much calmer and more beautiful.

Even with no cruise ships when the sailboats begin their daily parade around the rade then continue on to St-Jean-Cap Ferat, Beaulieu and Nice, the rade can seem quite busy.

I have had great fun watching these beautiful sailboats get underway and sail around under full and partial sail.

We will be leaving Villefranche soon, and I among the many things that I will miss will be these graceful sailboats.

Thanks for reading and please comment,
The Unabashed Liberal

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Free Public Universities and Technical Colleges

Dear Friends,

While the reasons for the increasing requirement for a college degree to get a job are debated, the fact that a college degree now is the equivalent of what a high school degree was a generation ago is not in doubt.  As a candidate for the Presidency, Bernie Sanders proposed that public universities and technical colleges should be free of tuition and fees.  He later agreed to change that proposal so that public universities would be tuition and fee free for families whose income was less than $125,000.  Senator Sanders has introduced a bill to accomplish this result and provides that the Federal government will pay 2/3rds of the cost and a tax on Wall Street speculation to pay for it.

I think that the current legislation does not go far enough.  We should provide public universities and technical colleges free from tuition and fees to all students qualified to attend.  The estimated cost of such a proposal is around $70 billion a year.  In calculating that cost, there is no offset for revenue generated by the additional jobs or the additional productivity of the workforce.  Nor is there any offset for the reduced demand for Federal government educational loans and grants.  Just as a point of comparison, the Senate just passed a bill increasing the military budget by more than $80 billion without batting an eye.  If that budget is ultimately approved, the United States military budget will be equal to the military budgets of the next ten countries with the largest military budgets.  We would have much stronger country with our current military budget and a workforce that is more college educated with much less debt.

Senator Sanders has proposed to pay for his bill with a tax on Wall Street speculation.  Depending on who is doing the estimating, the proposed Wall Street speculation tax would result in an increase of $60 billion to $300 billion of revenue.  Much of the rest of the industrialized world has or is adopting such a tax, and the United States has had such a tax in the past.  There is no evidence to support the claims by Wall Street that the tax would stifle productive investment.

When the Republicans and establishment Democrats say that providing tuition free public university education would bankrupt the United States, they are lying.  They have been bought by Wall Street.  I will not support any candidate who does not publicly and passionately support tuition and fee free public university and technical college education for all.

Thanks for reading any please comment,
The Unabashed Liberal