Friday, 1 April 2011

A German Note

Some state elections occurred last weekend, and it kinda went against Ms Merkel and her right-leaning party.  Several states simply didn't get the votes that her party expected.

The curious thing?  Two unique events occurred over the past six months.  You had the nuclear episode in Japan....and the Greens played this up big-time.  Everyone in Germany is now peppy over having nuclear power.....so the election gained votes for the Green folks.  You can imagine the general discussion now.....they have to shut down the nuke plants.

The curious thing....no one in the Greens can explain how this can happen this year, or next....and the big talk is simply how things will be in the future.  The idea of their neighbors having nuke power?  Well....that hasn't crossed the minds of Germans yet.  As long as they don't have nuke power....things might be ok.

The second unique event occurred in Stuttgart with the Stuttgart-21 episode.  The city government....mostly the right-leaning CDU folks who led the city government for years and years, and the left-leaning SPD who stands in the shadows....all jumped on this massive rebuilding of subways and train stations in the city.

It's into the billions....and will shut down various portions of the city for twelve months at a time for at least a decade.  Lots of folks got hostile when they finally realized complexity of travel around the city for the next ten years.  So the Greens seized onto this topic and went anti-Stuttgart-21.  This means that they want the parks like they were....the old train stations like they were....and the project is a quarter of the size intended.

So a week has passed now.  It's a big win with the Greens running the city government now with the SPD as their partner.  Yes, the Greens got a 25-odd percent win....to forget this partnership.

Funny thing....the SPD guys who fall into this partnership....really don't want much of the train project to change.  They are willing to talk....and some pieces may be taken out.  But they aren't about to jeopardize the billions that would be spent to help their construction companies or labor unions.  The locals are waking up today and kinda understanding a bit more of the picture.....and it's just not clear like they thought.

As for the Green-SPD relationship?  I'm thinking the boys will argue greatly for eighteen months and then dissolve this relationship....with a new election, and the Stuttgart-21 project see less than five percent of its project cancelled in the end.  Just a humble opinion here.....but things aren't looking great for the Green win.

My Day

I attended a Navy retirement ceremony today....for one of our Chief enlisted guys in the organization.  It was the first time that I'd been to a naval retirement deal.  I've probably been to about fifty Air Force retirements.  They typically run around thirty to forty minutes....nothing really special.....you get a flag flown over the White House, and that's mostly it.

I came out of this ceremony kinda shocked....it was a five-star event, and worth standing around for fifty minutes.  There is the traditional whistle episode to bring the guy "on-board", and the bell to signify a number of things....and to close....another whistle as he departed "the boat".  Then we had the "flag" episode, and you kinda felt a lump in your throat.  Toward the end....we had the "on the watch" rendering....which makes you appreciate what these guys do.

If you should ever get a chance to attend a Navy guy retiring....do so...it's worth it.

The Three Questions of the Day

1.  Would a bunch of idiots vote for Donald Trump in the 2012 Presidential election?  A year ago....I would have mostly laughed and said no.  Today...I suspect Donald could collect enough primary votes in the spring of next year and possibly win the Republican primary.  It would take several factors to fall into place (Newt has to fall apart in the south, Mitt loses big in the south, Palin gets nowhere in Iowa, etc).  The thing is....Donald just isn't Presidential material.  He's a CEO and would hammer everyone in his cabinet.  I suspect he'd make America absolutely pro-business and the DOW would double in a matter of eighteen months.  But he just isn't the guy you'd want for the job.

2.  Could forty CIA guys organize the Libyan rebels and quicken the pace of this mess to end?  Yes.  If you go back to Lawrence of Arabia and examine his simple tactics and broad vision....the Arabs didn't need a massive army.  They just needed Lawrence.  The better question to ask here.....does the CIA have a "Lawrence" sitting there in their ranks, or are they getting minute-by-minute directions from the White House to maneuver six Toyota pick-ups to the main highway, and bring four Land-cruisers up to the back of some village?

3.  After the nuke workers at the Japanese nuke plant die in two months from radiation....who will come forward to replace them?  These fifty guys are kinda inspirational and you must admit you admire their guts....but they are dead by June.  Replacements?   I'm kinda wondering about this and I just can't see more folks raising their hand to go in and run the handful of controls left in the plant.  So I might not be seeing any positive situations after the last of the fifty guys passes away in the plant and folks scratch their head over whose in charge then.