A plea for ethics

I’ve signed on to the following letter, hosted by NZ Bear[*1]

An Appeal from Center-Right Bloggers

We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.

We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.

But we are certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege. We hope the Hastert-Dreier effort leads to sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations. Just as importantly, we call for major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.

As for the Republican leadership elections, we hope to see more candidates who will support these goals, and we therefore welcome the entry of Congressman John Shadegg to the race for Majority Leader. We hope every Congressman who is committed to ethical and transparent conduct supports a reform agenda and a reform candidate. And we hope all would-be members of the leadership make themselves available to new media to answer questions now and on a regular basis in the future.


N.Z. Bear, The Truth Laid Bear[*2]
Hugh Hewitt, HughHewitt.com[*3]
Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit.com[*4]
Kevin Aylward, Wizbang![*5]
La Shawn Barber, La Shawn Barber’s Corner[*6]
Lorie Byrd, Polipundit[*7]
Beth Cleaver, MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy[*8]
Jeff Goldstein, Protein Wisdom[*9]
Stephen Green, Vodkapundit[*10]
John Hawkins, Right Wing News[*11]
John Hinderaker, Power Line[*12]
Jon Henke / McQ / Dale Franks, QandO[*13]
James Joyner, Outside The Beltway[*14]
Mike Krempasky, Redstate.org[*15]
Michelle Malkin, MichelleMalkin.com[*16]
Ed Morrissey, Captain’s Quarters[*17]
Scott Ott, Scrappleface[*18]
John Donovan / Bill Tuttle, Castle Argghhh!!![*19]

Outback Steakhouse

Sometimes, good customer service means a good response to the human mistakes that sometimes get made. Hats off to the Sioux Falls, SD Outback Steakhouse. My wife’s letter to them (follow the “read more” link):

January13, 2006

SiouxFalls Outback Steakhouse

2411S. Carolyn Ave.

SiouxFalls, SD 57106

ToWhom It May Concern:

Thisis to let you know what wonderful service I received on December 20,2005. I don’t know the server’s name or the manager’sname (but they were both female) but I do know that I was sitting inthe booth immediately to the left of the door as you enter. I waswith three friends and it was 6 PM.

Iordered the Chicken Griller. When it was delivered, I started eatingthe delicious rice and vegetables. Our server came by a few minuteslater to ask if everything was okay and we said “yes”since it was (as far as we knew). Right after she left, I tried tocut my chicken which was burned and overcooked. I couldn’t cutit with the knife provided! I went ahead and ate the rice andvegetables and they were very good. When we could get the attentionof our server, she immediately expressed concern and went to get hermanager. The manager came over and asked if I wanted another dinner. I did not since I had enough of the rice and vegetables (which arethe things I really like anyway!) and just wanted to get to the mostimportant of the meal – dessert! The manager surprised me bysaying that not only would she comp my meal, but she would give medessert, too. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised with thewonderful service provided by Outback Steakhouse. This was my firsttime eating at Outback and it won’t be my last.

Iplan on sharing this good experience with my readers atwww.medary.com. Please keep up the good work and the excellent customer service.


Living in “1984?”

Radley Balko at the Cato Institute has “predictions” for 2006[*1] . Follow the link–you don’t want to miss the punch line at the end of the article.

A quick sample:

My predictions:

—Moved by terrorist fears and anti-immigrant fervor, we will move ever closer to a national identification card. Citizens of the United States won’t be allowed to do something as simple as ride the bus without first showing “their papers,” invoking comparisons to communist regimes in the former Iron Curtain countries.

Someone in Congress will introduce legislation calling for a national ID card, but with Orwellian panache, will attempt to assuage fears of civil libertarians by calling for the words “this is not a national ID card” to be printed on the actual national ID card.

—The drug war will continue apace. Police dressed in paramilitary gear will conduct multiple early-morning raids on the homes of nonviolent marijuana offenders, including using forced entry, stun grenades, and other combat tactics commonly used in urban warfare.

—In the name of public safety, some small town will install cameras on its streets that nab motorists who speed, then send them a ticket in the mail. But in a thinly disguised move to generate more revenue, said town will lower the speed limits after installing the cameras, in effect entrapping motorists into fines they don’t deserve.

—Drug warriors will finally drop the charade, and arrest the Bill of Rights. On drug charges, of course.

—Staking out new ground in egregious corporate welfare, an American city will once again build a new stadium for the millionaire owners of a professional sports team, at taxpayer expense. This time, however, the millionaire franchise owners will get a bonus $50 million from the city’s taxpayers for breaking the lease on the old stadium — which the city will do for the express purpose of building the new one.

Worse, the team will get half of all revenues from non-football related events held at the taxpayer-funded stadium. Worse yet, the city will seize land from businesses who’ve been in operation for decades — not just to build the stadium, but to build parking lots around the stadium. The proceeds from which, once again, will go to the millionaire franchise owners.

The Alito Spectacle

The Alito hearings may be remembered primarily as the point at which the Democrats’ tactics of smear and innuendo became self-evidently ineffective.

Several observers are seeing a parallel[*1] in the Democratic Senators’ antics with Tailgunner Joe McCarthy’s anti-Communist hearings of the 1950’s. This analogy is of course profoundly offensive to the Left, secure in their righteous belief that the Right has a monopoly on strident over-the-top Senatorial witch-hunts.

Peggy Noonan comments[*2] :

Either liberals like Ted Kennedy really believe that conservatives harbor deep in their hearts an animus toward women, and blacks, and Hispanics, and everyone who is not a white male, or liberals simply enjoy, for reasons that are cynical and perhaps also psychological (“The people I fight are bad; this buttresses my belief that I, in spite of what I know about myself, am good”), suggesting that conservatives are full of narrow-minded bigotry and hatred.

As a matter of fact, Peggy, yes, the Left really does believe that. And that belief blinds them and cripples them, resulting in the sorry spectacle of the Alito confirmation hearings.

The American Restaurant

The American Restaurant is one of Kansas City’s better restaurants. Unfortunately, my wife and I caught them on what is, to say the least, an off night. Our letter to them is in the extended article (click “read more”):

November 22, 2005

Solomon Melesse

The American Restaurant

200 E. 25th Street, Suite 400

Kansas City, MO 64108

Mr. Melesse:

My husband and I celebrated our first anniversary at your restaurantlast night and we were hoping to make it an annual tradition, butafter the experience we had, we’ve changed our mind. However,I thought you would like to know about the things we experienced.

I made the reservation with Hillary and told her that it was our firstanniversary. We specifically made it for a weeknight since wethought we would received better service. And, Hillary told me thatonly two other couples had made reservations by the time I called somy husband and I had high hopes for an exquisite dining experience.

Here’sthe chronology of what we experienced on November 21 starting at 7PM:

Our valet parking experience was good, but when we got to the restaurant,we saw a coat check room (unattended) and couldn’t figure outhow to get into it. The hostess finally saw us and told us to leavethe coat on the chair and she would get it. We were then seated.

The water lady (who also ended up serving the bread and clearing thedishes) needs to speak up and enunciate. She said something whilepouring our water and I had to ask her what it was. All she had saidwas that our server would be along shortly. When she served me thebread later on, I had to ask her to repeat what she said. I haveexcellent hearing (as does my husband), but we could not understandher mumbled statements.

The wine list was presented to my husband and he chose a bottle of wine. The sommelier proceeded to say that she was in training while struggling with the broken cork (although she had been there a yearand a half per what she said later on). The broken cork was a turnoff and the wine was bitter. I’ve seen broken, disintegratedcorks at other restaurants and the sommelier immediately replaces thebottle before even serving it to the guest. However, my husband wasasked to taste the wine and then sent it back. The waitress told himlater that she tasted the wine and she also thought it was bitter. He ordered another bottle of wine and it was fine. But, the wholecork incident was a bit unsettling since I’ve had otherrestaurants immediately bring out a new bottle when that happens.

We were then handed our dinner menus and they said “HappyAnniversary David and Linda”. We don’t know who David and Linda are, but those are not our names. We weren’t sure wewere supposed to order from the items on David and Linda’smenu, but our waitress assured us it was the same menu that everyoneelse got and she did apologize profusely for the mix up. Hmmmm…

My husband is on a very low carb diet and told the waitress this and she did an excellent job of steering him to the right choices and even had the chef prepare his scallops without the breading and the escobar without the breading (and they were both delicious). However, she gave him the amuse-bouche of Camembert and the gingerbread with the fig feeling. He ate the Camembert but not the gingerbread. She even came back later and said “I should have just given you the cheese”. Her effort was there, but her execution was sub-par at times.

Ourfirst courses came and my husband ate his scallops faster than I atemy soup. While my hand was still on a piece of bread mopping up thesoup in my bowl (I realize this is bad manners, but the soup wasexcellent and I wanted to eat it all), the water lady/bread lady/dishclearer lady started to take my bowl away while mumbling something. I turned around and looked at her and asked her what she said and shethen asked me if I was done. While my hand was still in my bowl, Isaid “no” and continued to eat the rest of my soup for afew more minutes. I was astounded that while I was actively eating,she thought I was done!

Dinnerwas served and when my sweet potato puree side dish was brought out,the server noted that she forgot the serving spoon. About 10 minuteslater, we waved down another server and requested a spoon and alsoexplained that we were not pleased with the service we werereceiving. An older woman visited our table and asked how thingswere and after explaining some of these things to her, she apologizedand offered a complimentary dessert.

The dessert menu was presented and nothing really appealed to me (and ofcourse my husband wasn’t going to order anything due to his lowcarb diet) but I did see ice cream and I asked the server for theflavors that they had. She said that she had coconut ice cream andsince I saw that one of the desserts came with pineapple sorbet, Iasked if I could have a scoop of pineapple sorbet and a scoop ofcoconut ice cream. She then brought out two scoops of coconut icecream and a scoop of banana sorbet and explained that there was nopineapple sorbet event though it was on the menu. I detest bananas(and this brown puree was very unpleasant to look at) and after onebite of the gummy coconut ice cream, I was done.

Also, our server knew that I did not drink or like alcohol of any kind(which was one reason why many of the desserts didn’t appeal tome) and that I would only be drinking water with my meal. However,my water glass was empty for significant periods of time on threeoccasions. Either the glass needs to be larger, the bottle left onthe table or the water lady needs to be more attentive. I had towave my glass in the air at one point to get anyone’s attentionto the situation.

When two liqueur filled chocolates were brought at the end of the meal, Irealized that the server really hadn’t been listening at all. My husband, on his low carb diet, would not eat them and neitherwould I since I despise alcohol. It would have been better for herto ask if we wanted them and we would have said “no” andthen they wouldn’t have been wasted at our table.

On a positive note, my husband’s escobar was excellent as were hisscallops. My beets with blue cheese were also very tasty and theamuse-bouche of the gingerbread with fig filling should be on thedessert menu since it was outstanding.

Any of these items on its own wouldn’t have made for a subparevening, but when so many things happened at what we thought wasKansas City’s destination restaurant, we were verydisappointed. And, getting menus that were personalized for anothercouple rather than commemorating OUR anniversary seemed to be a slapin the face and I blame Hillary for this.

As I stated at the beginning of this letter, we were hoping to make thisan annual occasion, but we will probably try another one of KansasCity’s upscale restaurants next year but we still look forwardto hearing from you regarding these issues.