Thursday, 31 March 2011

Yes, It is True

Yes, it is true....NATO is now in charge of the air campaign in Libya, so you folks in Iowa can breathe a sigh of relief that America isn't in charge of anything related to Libya.  Naturally, it is an American General who runs NATO operations in Europe....who takes orders from the Pentagon....who takes orders from the President....but you folks in Iowa don't need to know about how things work.

Yes, it is true.....the US is about support ground operations and give the little guys fighting the Libyan government weapons.  Yes, it does sound like Afghanistan back in the late 1970s but lets avoid that topic.  Yes, there are probably laws that would be broken in a weapon hand-out like this....but lets avoid that topic.

Yes, it is true....twenty-five letters have arrived at various locations throughout the US, noting that the Islamic guys have 160 nuclear bombs in the US.  Yes, the letters say they are set up and awaiting the command to detonate by remote control.  The FBI is taking the threat somewhat serious but frankly.....they really don't want to search all of the US for these nukes.

Yes, it is true....the President did win an award for "transparency".  He apparently didn't want this published too far and didn't allow reporters into the room to see him getting the award.  Apparently, being transparent isn't anything you want to be proud of.

Yes, it is true....the President is now calling for big cuts in oil imports.  This was proclaimed a great policy by the media.  It was a strange thing.....it didn't explain what areas of the US were going to be opened up and allowed to drill.  It won't be Alaska, the coast off Texas or California or Florida, or anyplace where the environment might be damaged.  So it really sounded good....but it just made you wonder how you'd ever get to the intended target.

Yes, it is true....the budget crisis has reached a point in Alabama where they've decided to toss 3,000 of the 4,000 non-violent crimes folks in prison.....out onto the street.  These are folks within twelve months of being let out anyway, and the state budget guys are pumped up....believing this will truly save money.  As for the potential return of the 3,000 within two years for new crimes?  Well....it's best we don't talk about that.  Maybe they will move to Mississippi and turn into their problem.

From My Neck of the Woods

It was an interesting day in DC yesterday.  Former DC mayor Marion Barry....now a city councilman....got all peppy at a rally of taxi drivers in the District.

It's a curious thing.  Some folks have decided that there are way too many taxis in DC.....around 8,250, and they want the number shrunk down to 4,000.  They haven't explained how they decided on the 4,000 number and it's certainly not based on science or statistical data.  Naturally, this type of action upsets a bunch of taxi drivers, so they met up at the City Hall and complained in a loud fashion.

At some point....Marion Barry stepped out of the building and addressed the crowd.....starting off with "Shame on you".  Then he laid into the taxi drivers.  "Many of you are not from America. We do things differently here."

Then he kinda flipped from one side to the other....say folks could be disagreeable, and then pumping everyone up with the comment "You cab drivers are the hardest working people in the city, right?"

The curious thing about this suggested change is that it has to be a "medallion" system....which means you get a chance to buy a medallion and then be a part of the action.  Barry's rules in this draft are suggesting that folks would be classified into separate categories for DC residents and those who aren't.  Then you'd have a category for underserved areas....and finally one for low-emission taxis.

There are two pieces of concern for the local taxi guys. First, most believe that "friends of special friends" will be applied and bribes will be paid out to ensure your chance of getting a medallion.  The odds in this case?  My opinion is around the 100 percent point.  Various political folks will get a $1k here or a $4k there type payment, and the taxi king at city hall will get the green light over giving out the medallion.  I'm guessing you have to reapply every two years for this....if you wanted the scheme to continually pay you back more bribes.

As for the second curious thing?  Presently....a significant number of DC drivers are foreigners.....not the local community folks who've been here 100 years.  You can imagine the hostility by the generational folks over these foreign guys muscling into their territory.  I realize suggesting a black monopoly might be the final appearance on this taxi thing....but I'm willing to wager that the current make-up of the taxi drivers will change drastically once this passes.

Yes, after a while....you have to admit....it's like living in Bolivia.  You get used to it.

Note: one other curious note.....our buddy Marion Barry bought a fancy but older model Jaguar (pronounced JAG-u-R) about six months ago.  He took the tags off his old car and simply put them on the new car.  No registration of his vehicle has occurred.  Someone finally woke up and realized this....asked questions, and got this funny answer.  Marion bought this Jag but the dealer had issues with the registration. Six months later.....there's still problems.  Marion promises.....as soon as this is worked out....he'll register the car.

If you were wondering....typically if the cops from Virginia or Maryland caught you in this type of scheme....you'd have the car impounded and you'd pay a fine (over $200).  As of yet, no one has messed around with Marion.

If you were wondering....if a dealer can't produce a registration on a used vehicle after six months......it's likely to be stolen.  It's best that we not bring this up or suggest that Marion bought a stolen car from some local dealer for a really great price.  And don't worry....he'd never drive the Jag over into Virginia or Maryland, because they would impound the Jag if they saw it.  So he's pretty much confined to a 10 by 10 mile piece of territory, until this gets fixed.

And, yes, this is the way they do it in Bolivia as well.