Archive for News and Media

A Small Business Crisis…

Kris and Karen have an inspiring story. Coming from diverse backgrounds, they found each other, had three children – now in college, high school, and middle school – and she became a citizen. Five years ago, they opened a small café in a strip mall in Kenmore. Kris was an experienced chef with years of restaurant experience but never as an owner/operator. The café was their American dream. 

Marilynn and I were among their first customers. To my eye, as a former restaurant owner, it looked vulnerable—nicely done but probably under-financed in a location with almost no foot traffic. On that first visit, the sales rep from Caffe D’arte was training Karen in the art of espresso. We were pleasantly surprised. As a coffee snob I had doubts, but she nailed our lattes and our patronage. It became our go-to espresso stop. read more

Live by the Sword…

For 40 years America has had a health care problem. We spend more per capita than any other country with substantially poorer patient outcomes. The majority of Americans agree that the system is unfair, too expensive, fails to cover the neediest, and rewards insurance and pharmaceutical companies while limiting patient care.

Until a month ago, Democratic presidential aspirants were arguing about how to pay for better coverage – Medicare for All, single payer, or an expanded Affordable Care Act. All would cost more than the current system. Republicans scoffed and called their proposals socialism. read more

I’ve Seen this Movie…

It was a different time and a different contagion, but the set up was eerily similar. A mysterious microbe, the Andromeda Strain, was loose and threatening life on the planet. It first appeared in Arizona where it wiped out most of the population but left two survivors – a dyspeptic old man and a bawling infant.

Back to the future… in 2020 we see a dyspeptic old man and bawling infant rolled into one golden combover and the arrival of a new contagion. Will Donald J. Trump with both ends of the Andromeda spectrum covered help us survive the coronavirus? read more

Under House Arrest…

No ankle bracelets. No vertical bars. No knuckle dragging guards. No orange jumpsuits, but still… it feels like house arrest.

It might just be cabin fever, but for the past week M and I have been cloistered a scant five miles from Kirkland’s Life Care Center – epicenter of the American coronavirus scare – just over there, dead center, across the lake.

We’re making the best of it, but it’s already getting old. Experts predict it will get worse before it gets better and that means we could be prisoners for the long haul. The best information is that we are one step down from the most vulnerable population – older, but “in good health with no underlying conditions such as cardiopulmonary disease, obesity, or diabetes.” read more

Ordinary People…

Salquin (Idlib) Syria – Med’s hometown

In 2017 I wrote about my friend, Mohammed “Med” Malandi, a young Syrian refugee living in Berlin. I told the story of his harrowing escape and journey across Turkey, to Greece, then on to Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Austria and finally to Germany. Med is one of the lucky few. In 2018 he was granted asylum and the right to work in Germany. His brother, Hussein, landed in the Netherlands, but their parents stayed in Idlib – one of the few remaining rebel-controlled areas in the northwest corner of Syria. read more