Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday thoughts

This is Sunday, and after the previous rants at Starbucks and the Makah Tribe.

I won't stop about Starbucks, they're a strange company, the complexity of being a corporation. On one hand, being the world's number one independent arabica bean coffee importer, they've helped the coffee growers in Costa Rica, making many smaller coffee farmers profitable. On the other hand, considering buying Clover equipment company which make $8,000+ plus drip-coffee makers to incorporate their machines into Starbucks stores. The news was greeted with displeasure by rival coffee-cafes which use Clover equipment, creating market control of some of that market.

So, is it still reason to boycott Starbucks? Well, as always, yes and no. For helping coffee growers, no, but then other buyers would fill the market if Starbucks didn't buy their coffee. The demand for Arabica coffee is growing, so they're not that hurt. But yes, for their business practices, namely short-changing baristas and trying to control aspects of the markets. Me thinks they're just a bit too big?

They've always been known for trying to drive out competition in many areas. In one commercial areas near where I live, there are three on each of those corners at the main intersection, one a drive-through, one in Safeway and one national store. And there is no other cafe in the whole commercial area except a SBC in Borders. The closest one is a Cutter's Point Coffee in another commercial center across the highway.

And while I like the Starbucks store coffee, I like the SBC cafe and baristas more, who make a better mocha. The complaint against Starbucks is that they roast their coffee a bit too dark. I've heard this from a many sources including independent cafe owners. But it's up to you. I won't really boycott them completely, it's too hard and there are too few independent cafe or baristas, even in the Seattle area.

Other news?

Iraq, what else is there? Does anyone but Bush and Cheney know or think Iraq is not in a civil war? The Iraqi government forces fighting another Shiite (Sadr's) militia isn't a civil war? And without the suppot of US aircraft, artillery and intelligence the Iraqi forces would be losing againt Sadr's militia. Is there any good news here anymore? Since they're delaying the drawdown of surge until the summer-fall timeframe, it seems Bush and the Army is really pushing all the problems to the next President.

So, are they ready to give the American public some real answers?

Bush and the Senate. While Bush wants Mr. Bradbury approved by the Senate for the Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel Senator Harry Reid is saying no and not bringing any nomimations for any court, commission or anything to the committee until his nomination is withdrawn. It's a standoff, stalemate, whatever you want to call it. And we're losing.

So to George, what don't you understand about politics, giving up one nomination gets you many more other ones? Mr. Bradbury will never get a hearing, so give it up and get your other nominations, and let the Senate get on with the real business of helping Americans. At least they're trying.

The candidates. I'm coming to the view that maybe, just maybe, if we put the three in a blender, we could get one who has the best qualities of each and make the best candidates. But I know even that wouldn't come near the qualities of Bill Bradley. So, we still lose.

With the respect to the long Democratic primary with two equally strong candidates, I have to say to all the pundits who are arguing this isn't good for the party, quite the opposite, it's all about the people and choices. And the Democratic party will be fine when a candidate has been elected. No one doubts there will be some residual hurt and anger, but it will be put behind them as the Democratic nominee unites the party.

People forget two things. The Democrats are a diverse bunch of people which makes it a good party over the republicans. You can hold your view and still be a member of the party. Rebel republicans don't have such luxury to disagree with the majority. The Democratic process is messy, and will all the divergent voices, it's really messy, but they come around, even with some residual anger, but they know they could voice their view.

So I'm not worried about the Democratic primary. They'll get it together. History has shown they have many times before and I don't see any reason to worry this time. The pundits need to get look at history and rethink their view and opinion. In the meantime, it's an interesting campaign to hear the candidates..

Anyway, that's the news I saw worth a thought beyond just reading the article and reading on.

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