Saturday, 21 July 2012

Local Neighborhood

Everyone in the DC region has a Metro story.  This morning....I got up and read up on this episode that occurred Friday night and a local guy posted his "event".  Luckily, this wasn't me involved....I would have been pretty upset.

What  we have on a continual basis in DC....is a shutdown of the subway around 10PM, and buses start to carry folks around from station X to station Y, while this one-mile section of track is fixed for the whole weekend.

Well....last night....this guy and a number of folks get off at station X.  Here's the bus.  So they climb onboard.  It's about a two-mile drive for a driver to get through traffic.....going from station X to station Y.

Well....twenty minutes into this drive....some folks start to look at landmarks around them in the darkness.  Things don't make much sense because this should have been a five-minute drive at the most. So they pull out their I-Phone and run the GPS option.

They discover that they are about ten miles in the opposite direction of Station X or Y....heading north.....not south.  So this took around five minutes to get turned around, and probably closer to thirty minutes to finally pull up to the original destination of Station Y.  Roughly an hour wasted.

The funny thing here....is that if someone hadn't done the I-Phone GPS thing, and let the guy continue on for another thirty minutes.....they would have been over the river and into Maryland, which would have gotten some folks all upset and disturbed.

That's the interesting thing about living in the DC area....you just don't know what might happen next.

Crazy in America

You can be mentally unstable, extremely crazy and dangerous in America....yet....

- own weapons

- buy weapons

- register to vote

- actually vote

- buy a car

- have a bank account

- buy property

- own a business

- go to college

- be a member of a church

- be a Boy Scout leader, a Governor, or US Senator

- subscribe and have three hundred issues of Time magazine delivered to your house

- burn your house down legally

- marry someone

- attend a college and get a degree, including a PhD

- work on CNN, MSNBC or even Fox News

- ride around with a monkey in the car

- and even be President of the United States or run for the office of President of the United States

Parks and Services

It won't really make it down to you in the news....but out in California this week, there's this small item which ought to make you wonder.  Someone apparently got around to doing an audit of the Califorinia state parks department.  Don't ask why, but they did.

In the end, the audit guys come to realize that the parks department had been sitting on roughly $54 million for at least a decade....maybe even twelve years.

It's an interesting thing.  Back around 2001, the state parks department had 3,247 employees, which you have to admit.....that's a pretty fair number of folks, but California is a big state, and it has around two hundred state parks across the whole state.  The thing is....they grew....to roughly 4,094 employees today (numbers from the Rocklin & Roseville site).  The thing is.....there was 500 empty positions.  Every year, the department went back for full funding and got it....but they just didn't hire folks to fill 500 slots.  Cash in.....no cash out (so to speak).

The comical side of this....because the state of California is in such bad shape.....they hadn't authorized any vacation-time buy-back to any state employees in five years.  Well....that was the state rule.  But the state parks department had this nifty deal....as long as you worked for the headquarters organization, they'd quietly approve your vacation-buy-back deal.  Last year....it's reported that they paid out at least $250k, while it was unauthorized by the state.  There's some talk that the state just might come back around and insist on getting their money back.

So as the Parks department came forward over the past couple of years and continually talked up the terrible closure of various parks throughout the state because of a lack of funds.....there came these private folks up and donations popped up left and right.  What the state could not fund....the private guys would help with.....with the use of their wealth and generosity.  Yet, the department sat there with $54 million in their bank account.

The head of the state parks department has resigned.  I'm guessing that some private foundation in California will find some way of hiring her and keeping her busy for a couple of years.  The $54 million?  It'll be put on public display, and probably spent in less than thirty days.

This all generates some thoughts within the Governor's office....that millions more may be stashed away. So I'm guessing a massive audit will occur now.  They might find millions, or find nothing.

In the end, you end up looking at the state parks department like some mafia operation.  They knew how to get the cash from the state legislature.  They knew how to get cash from wealthy dimwits who were all into the environment, hills, green grass, and saving things.  The mafia leadership took care of the lieutenants and ensured that things kept going.  The $54 million probably could have kept the seventy parks slated for closure up and running.  The empty 500 positions?  I'm guessing that the state has figured out their scheme and cut those billets.

Life goes on.....while the sun sets on the California coast.

Just Observations

After you watch through the Colorado news today and this shooter, you come to several observations.

First, no, he wasn't a Tea Party guy....even though ABC really hoped that he was.

Second, no, he wasn't a disgruntled Vietnam vet.  Nor was he an angry Iraq War vet.  Nor was he a crazed Afghanistan vet.

Third, no, he wasn't an NRA guy or some gun collector nut from Kentucky.  Nor was he some whacked up far left wing or far right wing nut.

Fourth, no, he wasn't rambling on about Rush Limbaugh, the health care stuff, the NCAA, or liberals.

Fifth, yes, he was this extremely bright intelligent kid with a masters degree, and apparently couldn't find work last year with that degree....so he ventured off to work on a PhD....which apparently didn't work very well.

Sixth, no, even if you did outlaw guns.....this kid was smart enough to know how to build explosives.....so he would have killed you by various other means.

Seventh, yeah, he probably was developing into a nut of some type of the past year or two....but what exactly would people do about it?  It's not like 1956 and you went to a judge in your county.....discussed cousin Clyde's medical medication and had him put into a state mental hospital because folks feared for their life.  Folks just won't do that today.  Everyone wants to "med" the guy up and just hope for the best.

Eighth, yeah, packing a gun might be a idea to think about.  But you'd have to be willing to put the guy down with no hesitation when he started his stupid attack.

Ninth, no, we won't be able to avoid all the media hype this weekend, and the long talk about gun control.   You might as well pull out the car wax and buff up the car.  Or you might bring your pistol collection out and just oil all the guns out on the patio.  Or you might wash your dog.  Or you could flip the TV remote over to European soccer and figure out the rules over the first half of a game (45 minutes).

Tenth and final.....no, it's not the last shooting.  I might get into trouble for saying this....but this Zimmerman character in Florida probably would have worked his way up to the punk about sixty seconds into this, and shoot the nut.  There are times.....you just need someone focused on the problem, and let them do what they probably do best.