Friday, 23 March 2012

My Neighborhood

Sometime last year....our DC local city council guy....Harry Thomas....got caught stealing $300k of city funds.  It was an elaborate act....some fake charity he created...siphoning off funds for vacations, cars, etc.  Most folks were in agreement....he was guilty, and needed a fair amount of time in jail.  And he needed to pay back the $300k.   Harry said sure, but he wanted this in payments.  This was obviously a hint of problems to come.....as he went off to jail.

Today in the DC news.....the city of DC is admitting that Harry is a bit behind in payments.  They've gotten $70k at present.  One news source says that $50k of that....is thought to come from Harry's lawyer, not Harry.

By the end of 2013, it's all supposed to be paid out.  My humble guess is that things won't turn out like folks thought.  Harry will declare some kind of bankruptcy deal by the fall of this year, and the whole mess will go to some judge to sort out.  This judge will try to make sense out of Harry's finances.....which probably lay in a big mess.  Eventually, the remaining $230k pay-back.....will just be dismissed because Harry just ain't got the money.

You'd think that the judge would go after Harry's house and just seize it....but as the news folks over at The Needle (DC's city news blog) points out.....it's in the name of Harry's wife.  Who writes up home ownership papers in their wife's name?  Well....it's hard to find situations like this.

Meanwhile.....the federal investigation guys are looking at several other folks on the city council, their use of cashier's checks for the last election (receiving them), and the mayor is a target too.  My humble guess is that at least one more guy is going off to jail before the next election comes around.  Worst case scenario....half of the city council is gone.

As you can imagine....DC is a pretty odd place.  When I wrote of my personal feelings upon arrival in January of 2010.....that comment of "I'm a stranger in a strange land".....it still stands.

It Would Have Been an Interesting Weekend

Sometimes, you can predict something will occur.

Tomorrow has been set aside, for weeks in fact, for this rally in Washington DC.....at the National Mall, in front of the steps of the capital building.  The rally?  Reason Rally.....an atheist rally concerning political America in 2012.

I looked over the various groups who are sponsoring the deal....American Atheists, American Humanist Association, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, United Coalition of Reason, Center for Inquiry, Stiefel Freethought Foundation, Secular Coalition for America, Secular Student Alliance, and Freedom From Religion Foundation (printed over at Politico).  It's the New York Yankees of atheists in America.

The curious thing?  Well....a whole lot of political talk would have occurred tomorrow over atheist feelings, the Republicans, and President Obama's accomplishments.  It's hard to imagine that atheists are mostly Democrats in nature.  I sat for a while, pondering this....having never thought much about the political persuasion of atheists.

It's hard to put the dynamics of this into prospective.  It's like saying cat owners are mostly Democrat, or dog owners are mostly Republican.  Maybe tent campers are mostly Democrat, and RV campers are mostly Republican.  Maybe Sears shoppers are mostly Democrat, while Wal-Mart shoppers are Republican.  When you get to this point of breaking folks down into a political persuasion.....something is wrong....if you ask me.

But here's the thing.  For five days, the weather folks of Washington DC have been in this announcement stage.  One of the biggest storm fronts of the past ten years is moving slowly across America and will arrive around early Saturday morning.  Rain, thunder, lightning, and hail are predicted.  It isn't a small front.....it'll last for all day Saturday, all day Sunday, and barely leave as the sun rises on Monday.  It will be an absolute miserable weekend for everyone in DC, if they want to hang out.....anywhere in public.

So a guy from Bama would view this slow moving front....the massive size....the potential for lots of lightning....the moment of arrival....this atheist group meeting up at the same time and place.....and say that God only has a few obvious tools to use in delivering a message.  One might come to this conclusion....that God has whipped up as big a message as possible to the atheist groups.  Unless you are really charged up, peppered up, and fully motivated....you won't come to the National Mall, and that kind of says something.  I expect the Mall to be mostly empty by noon on Saturday.

The national news guys will probably carry thirty seconds of mention on the cancellation of the atheist political meeting in DC.  They probably won't mention the size or dynamic nature of this approaching storm.  If they did lay out the entire story....you'd start to wonder if some mysterious hands are at work here.

Update: Well....the weather guys screwed this one up.  Saturday in DC was drizzle mostly, with no thunder or lightning.  Sunday?  Mostly thick clouds....cool....a sprinkle or two.  The fantastic storm front?  It was all gone by the time it arrived in DC.  The God angle on this episode....just didn't come through.  Course, maybe God wanted them to meet....discuss politics and atheistic values.  Maybe a bunch of idiots going back home and trying to engage on their favorite candidates because of their God-less character...would make folks just start laughing, and vote for the other guy.  Hmmmm.