Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Two Versions of Occupy

A few weeks ago....I spent a morning downtown in DC....at the Occupy "fest".  At the time, I noted that there were two camp-grounds.  It was a rather odd deal.  Over at the Freedom Plaza (two blocks east of the White House), there's campground number one.  Most of what I noticed were folks over thirty years old and a fairly organized operation.  They had sanitary conditions, and had teams mounted up to accomplish various things....including clean-up duties at various times of the day.  You didn't find any trash on the ground and they seemed to be fairly friendly folks.  I'd almost label them the hippy generation of the 1960s and 1970s....leftover from the good times.

Down the street....to the northeast of the White House....was Occupy number two campground, at McPherson Square.  It was a bit different.  Here were mostly all young folks....all younger than thirty.  I didn't see anyone over age thirty except the homeless folks who hung out around the area.  They weren't quite as organized, and they weren't as sanitary.  I kinda got the impression that they did a fair amount of booze, and drugs (way more than just weed, which the hippy group might have been doing).

This week.....the city sanitation folks and the National Park Service.....are both kinda look at the Occupy folks. I suspect they are looking more at group number two than the hippy folks.  Rats are now being reported daily near McPherson Square.  The sanitary conditions are now questionable.  Various comments are leading one to think that by January....someone in DC is going to order the clearing of one Occupy camp.....perhaps even both.

So the news folks (the Examiner) got around to asking both groups how they relate, and this was a curious thing.  They did try to show some unity, but the McPherson Square crowd are a bit more independent, and just not willing to share in the organizational skills.  You almost get the impression that both have separate agendas and perhaps an end result that does not match up.

I also might offer this one odd observation.  The hippy guys and their camp....was kind of prepared for real camping, bad weather, and snow.  They were seasoned folks.  They had camped out in their life and knew how to do it for weeks at a time.  They've seen bad winters and two feet of snow.

The punk kids a couple of blocks away?  They really weren't adapted to organized camping.  I didn't come away with impression that they knew how to keep someone's backyard sanitary.  They were the type that'd go camping in yard....trash it.....and just walk away smiling.  The rats and the trash?  Well....they'd just pretend it doesn't exist.

Here's the thing though....there are restaurants and coffee houses all around McPherson Square.  They rely on the health department of DC.  The political figures of DC and the city council....might want to give the boys continued reign....but eventually, this health code issue is going to determine the end of the camping experience.  Along the way....a few punks are going to be bit by rats, and some folks are going to suffer some serious health issues.  The hippies are going to mostly smile....because this time....they were right in the way they ran things.

Only in America.

Maybe You Should Ask First

Here in the local area....an interesting development.

Word got out this morning that the District of Columbia city council is reviewing this idea of sports teams being used on car tags.  They have eight professional teams in the region (soccer, football, baseball, football, hockey, etc).  They figure a $25 fee to start with and $20 a year for these special tags.

The curious thing to me....is that typically the logos are precious to every single team.  They just don't normally approve the use of such logos....unless there is money in the pot for them.  Personally, I can't see them approving the logo, unless the DC council paid them money, and that typically isn't something that the council is used to doing.  The DC council probably dreamed this up and got one team to agree to this....and I seriously doubt that the rest are going along with it unless a couple of bucks float their way.

The curious thing here.....how many folks would sign up for Washington Redskins tags?  I'm guessing one out of every three cars.

A Happy Story

Weeks ago....the city of San Francisco decided that Happy Meals from McDonalds, with the toy "gift", were evil.  No matter what toy they offered, it didn't matter....they were all evil.  So they had to be outlawed....wiped off the face of the Earth.

For the next day or two....you still have the "toy" option with the San Francisco McDonalds.  Then, on the first....there will this little change.

When you walk into McDonalds....you will be able to buy the toy "gift" for ten cents, which will only be offered to you as a customer AFTER you buy the Happy Meal.  The ten cents?  Well....McDonalds said that they would merely take that "donation" and send it to the McDonald's support charity operation.  The price of the Happy Meals?  No change.....you basically pay the same price as before.  So you have to toss down ten cents extra....to make that five-year old kid happy.

As you settle back to ponder over this....imagine the scene.  The government of San Fransisco decided to regulate something...invoke more regulations....and dictate how a business would operate.  The business did what they would naturally do....change.  For you the consumer....you pay an extra ten cents that you didn't have to pay before.  The "toy"?  It was made in China for less than a twenty cents (my humble guess).   So what the city did....was force everyone to pay an extra ten cents on every Happy Meal, for the stupid toy.  The evilness of McDonalds?  Put down entirely.....thank God for the wonderful city council.

Only in America.