Saturday, 12 February 2011

A Trend?

There's an interesting trend out of Nebraska.  The state....like most other states....has a fair number of recreation areas, state parks, and state lakes.  When the state was wealthy and going through a vast expansion of its recreation possibilities....folks really didn't add up what it costs to run something like this.  They just found the cash to buy property, and procured the area.

Things now have reached a point where life isn't that simple.  The state government admits now that each and every state recreation area has a cost associated with it.

In the past couple of a months....a new idea has taken root.  The state is working out deals to hand a couple of state recreation areas and parks....over to local counties or towns.  It certainly won't be a major group but it's a trend.

Thirty years ago....most towns didn't really grasp tourism or the profits associated with a lake or camping area.  They've sat there now and noticed that a grocery store near a local camping ground....actually makes a fair amount of money, and tax revenue flows into the town via city taxes.  They've noticed that two gas stations around a local state lake now flourish and make a fair income strictly from lake traffic.  A local hotel which saw the lake as a threat thirty years ago when it started....now has now grown its business to the extent that it's booked up completely from May to October.

I realize that some folks might be hostile toward local governments running state parks but times have changed.  More corruption?  Well....this could happen if people step in and consider this lake property their own personal operation....but the state hasn't given the local town or community the property.  They merely have granted the title of operator to the town or county....nothing more.  If the town screws this up....the state could step back in.

I suspect that ninety percent of the state parks and state lakes in America....could be run by the local authorities.  I also suspect that operational cost would controlled better by the local town council and fees could be better managed.  Will some fees increase?  Yes, but it's the necessity of actually improving these parks to attract more people that make that a necessity.

Now, if the federal government could get into the same state of mind.

Egypt & The Little Guy

A year from now....you can walk into Cairo and look around for Hamad the local muffler guy and ask him these five questions.

First, has your life been improved since Mubarak left?  Hamad will scratch his head and then wave his arm to the sky.  No.....he'll admit nothing much in his life has improved.

Second, has the price of food stabilized?  Hamad will spend a good minute thinking about this, and then respond that nothing has truly stabilized in terms of food prices.  There was a government truck to pull up and dump out a 40-pound bag of rice as a free government 'gift', but otherwise, prices are still escalating.

Third, has government corruption ended?  Hamad starts laughing.  Things apparently are just as corrupt as they were during the Mubarak days.

Fourth, is the electrical grid just as delicate now as it was during the Mubarak period?  A long pause comes up here....as Hamad thinks thinks long and hard about this.  Before Mubarak left, there were eighteen hours a week where the power to his business and home went off.  Hamad wants to smile just slightly here.....where he admits that his power now goes off for sixteen hours a week.....which would be a measured improvement but it's something that a guy just won't brag about.

Fifth and final....did anything really change after Mubarak left?  Hamad sits and thinks about this.  He's noticed more dimwitted political figures on TV and in the local town talking alot.  In fact, they seem to talk twenty-four hours a day.  He hears about solutions all the time now.  The four newspapers that he reads over each day....openly chat continually about these suggested ways to fix or improve Egypt.  Everybody is all charged up apparently to talk about change.  But then as he picks up a muffler and touches the cold steel....Hamad lets you know that these changes aren't steel.  You can't touch them.  They are merely words and little substance.

In essence....a whole lot of nothing has occurred.  Someone might win a Nobel Peace Prize for this.  For Hamad....the world just watched a Super Bowl-event occur, where the score ought to be zero-zero at the conclusion of the game.....yet someone voted for the most valuable player of the game....and the network made a bunch of money making you watch the entire "show".  Life goes on....in the Hamad muffler shop.

Honduras and Egypt

It's a odd thing...comparing Honduras and Egypt.

Two years ago as the new administration walked in....the government of Honduras was facing an "Egyptian moment".  The President was rigging up a President-for-life situation.  The Constitution simply didn't allow him to change the rules for such a moment....the majority of the Honduran Congress agreed....the Supreme Court of Honduras agreed....and the majority of the public agreed.  So the President was kicked out of the country.

Barely twenty-four hours passed, and the US administration jumped in and announced that this simply wouldn't work and they needed to accept the old President back....and allow him to modify the Constitution....which would in effect allow for a "President-for-life" situation.

Weeks and months passed as the White House pressed on with this attitude, but the Honduran 'temp' (the guy appointed by the Honduran Congress)....stood his ground.  Elections were held and a new guy was voted in.  The US still pressed that the old guy.....kicked out....ought to be allowed back.

So two years have passed.  The current Administration theme is that the old guy of Egypt has to go.  No matter how you shuffle the deck....he has to go.  It doesn't matter what the Constitution says....or what the Military thinks....the President has to go.

I sat and pondered over this.  So far....no one from the media has noted this strange and odd difference.  Egypt is Egypt and Honduras is Honduras.  For some reason....things can be done differently in each....and it makes perfect sense.