Saturday, 30 August 2014

Fingerprinting?

I follow the business news a good bit, and there's this odd story that appeared there....which won't really be displayed on CNN, ABC or even Fox News.  It's about this screwed up business regulation in Venezuela....which will come into play shortly....requiring you as a consumer to display your fingerprint....to buy groceries and consumables.

Odd?

Well....here's the basic story.

Venezuela has been going down the tubes economically for two decades.  An irrational government....always on the push for wealth distribution....has gotten to the bottom of the barrel.  So if you were a storefront in any significant urban area of Venezuela....you've had government dimwits arrive and tell you what you can sell items for....unrelated to what you paid for the items to start with.

Naturally, you'd ask stupid questions about their knowledge over profits and operating costs.  They respond that they know better and suggest that they might be able to shut you down.

After a while....instead of offering five different toilet paper options in the store....you start to offer only one option.... some rough cheap paper.  Folks start to negotiate....buying stuff on the black market....creating a hidden market where taxation isn't working and common essentials aren't being sold.

To battle this....Venezuela is going to start a new trend....finger-printing at all grocery and store-fronts.  You buy six jugs of milk....swipe your fingerprints as you buy them.....the government guy notes your purchase and knows your consumption level.  You go and buy forty jugs of milk....swipe your fingerprints.....a government guy comes by the house and asks how you are consuming this (you try to avoid talking about re-selling it at a higher cost and profiting off the dealing).  All of this....leading to fines or jail?

Upsetting?  Yeah, a number of Venezuela folks are asking stupid questions and wondering what company is involved....how they profited off this deal....how much the technology will cost at their local Piggly Wiggly....and where this will lead onto.

A silly use of technology?  You'd have to attach audit experts onto the mess.....consider judges and fines.....and have some expected outcome.  It's silly....but we've developed as a society where it's actually acceptable.

Splish-Splash

Near to where I grew up in Bama....is this town with an expanding population base.  Yeah, I know....it's kinda shocking that some towns in Bama are growing in these stagnant times.

This week, the town council kinda admitted that they are seeking a state grant...meaning tax revenue money and funding dumped into some pot and cities across Bama can request the money for various projects.

So, this town has submitted the paperwork, and awaiting approval for funding to build......a splash park.

Naturally, I've been out of America for a while and I'm not really familiar with the concept of splash parks.

You basically take some two acres of land (or smaller) and run up piping and some outlets....with a latex covered concrete area and drainage capability.  Then you toss in a fairly good pump and a bunch of water outlets....really fountains....and just spray water on folks.

Kids....mostly from sixteen down....get all excited....wet....and happy in such an environment.  No life-guard.  No fancy dressing rooms.  Perhaps a beverage shop and burger joint, and maybe a covered picnic area.

The town's mayor admits it'll be planned around 1,400 square feet....figure a half-acre lot.  Course, he's admitting everyone is excited about this (I kinda wonder why)......and there's a feeling that it'll all be concluded by spring of 2015.....IF they get the funding.

Being a Bama tax payer now....I kinda feel negative about money being tossed into a project like this, but if they didn't go after it for this stupid splash park......some other idiot would go after it to build a a covered picnic structure in a rattlesnake-infested creek area, or someone would put up a basketball court in a drug-infested crack neighborhood of Birmingham.

The curious thing about this whole deal?  They've only crossed the alcohol sales point in the past year (finally getting it passed in 2012).....which means the town now has regular taxation income off the booze sales.  In some ways....I think the city council is fairly surprised at how much rolls in each month off beer and booze (more so than the traffic ticket scheme of the past twenty years).  With various state and federal grants, and ample matching funds coming into play from the local taxation bucket.....they could start planning yearly splish-splash projects, attracting a whole new breed of local moving into the local area and pumping up property values.

As for standing out in the middle of some splash-park on a ninety-five degree day in Bama?  Man, I can't imagine standing there, with that much humidity and that much heat bearing down on you.  And at best.....you can only operate such a park from early May to late September.  But this is Bama, and you tend to appreciate just about everything of entertainment value.