Wednesday, 14 December 2011

My Neighborhood

This is a pretty simple story of how one stupid thing will encourage an illegal thing.

Across the river, into the land of the "District" (DC)....a mighty council has sworn to defend the city from the invaders....chief, cars.

To park in the mighty land of the "District", you have to buy a $338 parking permit.  This fee allows a mere mortal to park in residential areas or campus areas upon the streets of the protected kingdom.

So for years, this mighty council has protected the "District".

Across the "District", we have had this invasion for years and years, mortals from other lands.  These young men and women have come to several different campuses, to engage and improve their intelligence.  They've talked their parents into paying a $100k for four years of nifty upscale learning.  And the young punks would like to bring their cars up....while they learn.

So the mighty council has come to decide that the out-of-district punks.....will not be allowed to buy these $338 permits at the end of 2012.  No permit....no car parking.  It is that simple.

What the mighty city council of DC has decided....is to entice the wealthy parents to come and discuss the matter with them.  Perhaps money....even $500 on the side....would help to motivate the city councilman into doing something.

My prediction is that a dozen guys will figure out this brilliant scheme....buy excess city parking passes, and then sell them to the punk kids.  Figure a fifty dollar fee somewhere in this mess, and you've got this great money-making venture that even some fifteen year old kid in DC might take advantage of.

Imagine Johnny Junior, twelve years old, and going down to the city office to buy ten $338 permits with his life savings.  No one will question Johnny Junior about this....mostly because it's DC.  Johnny Junior will put up a stand on some street corner and sell his ten permits for a $500 profit.  The next day.....he buys another ten and sells those.  Over and over, Johnny Junior does this.  A year passes, and the DC city council is told that some punk twelve year old kid owns two-hundred parking passes in the "District".  Suspicions arise, and eventually....the cops come to question Johnny Junior.  You can imagine Dad almost weeping here....the brilliance of Johnny Junior, and the cops wanting to cart him off to jail for illegal parking permit profit.

You just can't make stuff like this up....that's the sad thing.

Not a Nice End

If you have twenty minutes, there is an outstanding article over at FT.com which discusses the possibility that America just might not recover on the jobs market.

If you live in the heartland....you know that TV production in America left in the 1980s.  Laptops and printers are mostly all manufactured overseas today.  Your coffee machine?  Likely made in a foreign country.  Your lamp over the desk?  Foreign country.  The brake pads you bought last week.....likely made in a foreign country.  Your t-shirts?  Probably a fifty-fifty split.

The truth is that we got the logistical price of shipping down, and then turned shipping into an art.  A guy running a Dollar General store in Mississippi can forecast the amount of liquid soap he needs each week, and some distributor sitting in Texas can put a case onto a delivery truck for the guy within thirty minutes.  The liquid soap manufacture could be sitting in Mexico, and just drives a truck across to the warehouse in Texas every other day.....to meet the quotas.  This all helped to cheapened products and lessen storage requirements and overhead.  The sad thing is that it helped to get rid of ordinary jobs that most Americans filled.

Here's the thing that ought to worry you.  We are getting smarter on this manufacture business, and there's just much of a reason to reverse this whole trend....unless some massive earthquake occurs in China and destroys the TV manufacture business.  That might shift production....but it's a "if".  Otherwise, we are heading toward a nation that simply doesn't manufacture much of anything.

Your buddy, Karl, who barely graduated from high school?  He won't go into some plant and manufacture TVs.  Your buddy Dave, who wasn't that smart in school.....won't be out there manufacturing brake pads for Chrysler.  All of these guys will be stuck with almost no occupation except making pizza or picking up your trash.  It's not a pretty picture, if you think about it.

Just a Simple Opinion

Congress did pass a budget bill last night......234-193....last night.  It'll go to the Senate now.  The issue with it....is that it contains the language that the Keystone oil-pipeline project will go through.  If you remember the President's comments a month ago.....he won't allow any decision to be made on the pipeline until after the 2012 election (twelve months away).

The senate will get this, and I kinda expect this to be close.  They would need sixty vote to pass it.  There aren't enough Republicans to get past the fifty point.  However, there might just be ten Democrats who want to see the pipeline start up.

So there is this threat in the next three days of the Senate passing this....and the President having to veto a jobs-creation situation.  A shovel-ready jobs-creation situation, I might add.

There's virtually nothing the President can say here to make any sense.  Come the week after the election of November 2012....and he announces that he'll now approve the Keystone project.....it'll make him look fairly foolish.

Frankly, I suspect that the Canadian company involved in this mess, simply aren't going to wait around.  They will likely find another way to export the oil out.   The 18k jobs that would have been created?  It'll upset a bunch of folks to watch all this happen, and unemployment being forced to continue on.

I'd hate to even suggest this.....but even Jimmy Carter would have likely approved the Keystone project.

And if the Senate does pass it, and the President vetoes it?  No budget, and we enter this pretty bad week where a bunch of Senators have to sit around Washington when they had plans already made up in their home states.  You just can't make stuff like this up....that's the sad part to the story.

Well.....Yeah

Not that it really matters much....but around eighteen months ago....as the economic crisis was thrilling Americans and some Congressmen decided to save America with a stimulus package....there was this one little piece of the stimulus....destined for Washington DC.

There's this local company....Fort Myer Construction Corporation....which eventually got around $425k-approximately....to spruce up and fix up this nifty park in the middle of Washington DC.  We are talking about an area between one and two acres.  The water fountain was going to be fixed....new trash cans puts out....new fencing....new light poles, and fresh new sod.

The park? McPherson Square.  A block or two north of the White House.

Well, yeah, this is the park where the Occupy guys have taken over.

Well, yeah, the sod has been completely destroyed.

Well, yeah, the garbage cans are pretty much trashed up.

Well, yeah, the whole park will have to be renovated from top to bottom when Occupy finally leaves, and it will cost a minimum of $500k to fix.

Well, yeah, it is forbidden by National Park Service rules to camp out....period....at McPherson Square.  Even homeless people are forbidden from camping out there (they can sleep on the benches, but that's the limit).

Well, yeah, no one from the National Park Service can explain how Occupy got around the rules that usually work for 99-percent of Americans.

Well, yeah, some Republican congressman finally did figure out this mess today and asked the National Park Service to explain how all this came to be.

The sad thing is that you just can't make stuff like this up.