Monday, 26 December 2011

65k Problems

The Army came out late last week, and admitted that maybe around 65k graves at the Arlington Cemetery might be "wrong".

It's one of those odd deals that you'd only admit to around Christmas time and hope that everyone was missing the story.

The jest of this story is that they've had a lot of problems and they felt they needed to really check out the entire cemetery.  So they pulled out the paper records, and then walked the entire cemetery.  There's some problems, but they just aren't sure about them.

A paper record might indicate that the guy's day of birth was X, when it was Y.  It might indicate a middle initial of T, but the stone says "J".

How many man-hours might be needed to sort through the 65k cases?  I'd be guessing that five guys could spend the next ten years sorting through this.  Some cases date back to the Civil War, so it'd be an interesting detective episode to get into.  The amount of paper records wrong?  You just can't tell.  The stones wrong?  Well....it might be fifty percent.  New stones?  Well.....yeah.....there might be a bunch of new stones made up.

All of this is going to worry the old GI's who had this dream of being buried off at the cemetery.  They might actually decide that being buried in Red Bay or Ripley, is good enough.  You sure don't want any wrong info chiseled into some stone and have your buddies come up to visit.  It get back home that your middle was "C", when for all those years.....you kept saying it was "A".  Guys will sit around the bar for years....wondering what the C stood for, and wondering why you never claimed "C".  Naturally, they will assume it's some oddball name like Clovis or Chipper.  It's the kind of reputation that you'd rather not get.....especially after you've passed on.

A House Loan

I've been in Germany for over a week, and the big news episode.....is this odd loan deal with the German President....President Christian Wulff (note, he's not the Chancellor).

A couple of years ago.....he comes up and wants to buy a 500k Euro ($700k) house.  He needs a loan.  The banks have no issue with the deal but they have to make a profit.  Some rich millionaire's wife, who is a friend of Wulf, with almost no percentage points.  You could call it a free loan of sorts, or a heavily discounted loan.  They fixed up the papers, and the house was bought.

Well....this all has gotten out and folks are determined that there is some corruption here. So far, they can't find much of anything.  Even the state prosecutor admits there is no law to prevent such a loan, and no law to stop a political figure from taking such a loan.  So the news folks continue to chat about this daily, and how unethical this all appears.

Adding to the mess....there are lots of folks from various parties who aren't talking about this at all.  My perception is that they really don't this to take off because they have the same kind of loan arrangement.  The banks are kind of peeved because they don't want folks to get any funny ideas about personal loans for large sums of money.

Disgrace?  Well, if the political figure hasn't done anything illegal, then it's not much of a disgrace.  As for being unethical?  It's kind like sitting at a bar and having some guy offer to buy you a drink, and you might be the mayor or the city council guy for the town.  Where do you draw the line?  A drink?  A golf game?  A meal?  A trip over to Vegas?  A house loan?

The comical side of this is that he has to go into some bank....work up a quick loan to cover the house, and pay back millionaire's wife.  You can imagine the bank guy sitting there and grinning for ten minutes before even starting a discussion.