Michael Phelps: Electricity, philanthropy, and concocting a Triple Crown

Opinion,Michael Phelps

Some Baltimore City leaders think they want to get into the power business.

Is the city?s confidence in its entrepreneurship buoyed by its success in operating public schools or meeting arrest quotas? But it could be more troubling. Consider if the state legislature planned to operate a state power company.

Would it point to its experience and competence in managing power pricing regulation over the past decade as a qualification?

Philanthropy redefined

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are re-defining philanthropy. Buffett?s $31 billion injection into the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this week was wonderfully, even stupendously, generous. Buffett and the Gateses, it might be worth noting, have apparently decided to put their financial legacies and charitable intentions into the hands of executives like the ones who have helped them amass their fortunes. They obviously want to ensure that they spend their money efficiently on those in need. They didn?t decide to pass their money through the hands of either the federal government or their home-state governments of Nebraska or Washington. And, happily, their gifts will not be thinned by taxes or bureaucrats before moving to people around the world in need of their help.

A triple sec

Mike Kokoskie is a Federal Hill guy who justfinished his studies at Loyola. While a student and now, as he figures out what to do next, he tends bar at Alonso?s, an old neighborhood haunt on Cold Spring Lane. Mike, like others who pursue his current calling, has a following. They enjoy the product of his work, his amiable banter and, lately, his inventiveness.

Mike?s developed a concoction worthy of a try by those who enjoy a beer so cold it hurts your teeth but have gotten bored with their regular brews. He makes what he calls a Triple Crown, with three ales, Maryland?s Resurrection, Sierra Nevada and Stella Artois. The order of drawing the ales into the pint glass makes a difference, says Mike.

Vote with our feet

On smoking in restaurants, our editorial position is that restaurants shouldn?t be forced to ban smoking. Tobacco is legal.

Worthy of contrary consideration, perhaps, is that we the people have health inspectors who check restaurant kitchens for sanitary conditions and the absence of bugs and rats to protect the health of those who eat there. Why shouldn?t they also check for poisonous second-hand cigarette and cigar smoke?

But better perhaps is to vote with our feet and dollars and not patronize restaurants where the tastes and smells emanating from the skill and care of the chef are lost in the blue haze of cancer-causing smoke.

Michael Phelps is president and publisher of The Baltimore Examiner.
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