I have just spent a week in my home town, Washington DC, where I spent time with family and friends.  I started by attending the annual audit committee meeting of DACOR, the home for retired diplomats.  Fortunately DACOR is doing much better than the general economy.  After that, lunch with my old Peace Corps roommate, who is an economist I respect and trust.  He said my blog on “Sated Consumers” shed light on an overlooked cause of our lackluster economy.  I told him that the only thing I could see on the horizon that could restore a healthy economy is the boom in the oil and gas industry in our Northern Plains states and Pennsylvania.  I told him this is a real “game changer” with enough money slushing around to prod the general economy to prosperity.

Next dinner with another old friend and Foreign Service colleague who is deeply involved in security issues.  He once more amused me with stories about fumbles in our efforts to build a more secure country.  His insights into the Bengazi tragedy and other terrorist actions were revealing.  All in all we are probably batting .350 in our war on terrorism. 

Then dinner with the DACOR inner circle where we old “striped pants” boys and girls traded war stories and comments about whither US foreign policy.  Some eye openers but no major predictions. 

Last, but certainly not least, I had lunch with another old friend and former colleague who is now a senior staff person on the House Committee on Foreign Relations.  He observed that most of the populace is convinced that all the Congress needs is better information with which to sit down and come to an agreement on how to run the government.  He said the Congressmen are fully informed and understand all the details, they just are not going to agree until after the 2014 election.  So do not expect a “Grand Compromise,” rather the federal government will just continue to “kick the can down the road.”  I outlined my observation that state governments are moving ahead with bold initiatives and in doing so moving governance back to the states and away from the central government.  He reminded me that the states live on federal funds so they are limited in how far they can go on their own.

In sum a Washington test of my blogs suggested that I may be on the right path.  But then what does Washington know?