Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday musings

News reports coming out of China indicate that there has been a massive earthquake with great damage and many casualties as well. Hopefully rescue and recovery efforts will assist the survivors.
The President of Argentina was in Venezuela this week to attend to the inauguration of the new President elect and took a side trip to visit the remains of Hugo Chavez in what some observers see as another clear sign that she is leaning even more to the left in the political spectrum and attaching herself to symbols like his and also Eva Peron in order to bolster support at home.
We have all followed the events in Cyprus and the followed the economic ruin of the country. So, as it seems all politicians around the world do, the President has come up with a way to save that faltering country.
Correct, casinos.
He thinks that by building a number of them, as the movie Field of Dreams so famously stated,”they will come.” Apparently people with scads of money to gamble away without a care will  descend on the island or the populace itself, will emerge to pour money into the coffers of the government and save the day.
It really is too much to expect politicians to do the right thing these days isn't it?
In a couple of small cities on Ontario, the police chiefs there earn in the high 6 figures, well over $150,000 a year, while their counter part in Detroit earns $53,000! All local governments are straining under what many call excessive pay packages for police, firefighters and civic officials and the answer given to the taxpayer to pay for the insatiable money pit is more taxes! Now I am not blaming these out of line pay rates solely on the employees, no, someone in management had to sign off on these agreements in the first place.
But when will this stop?
When will politicians actually make the hard calls and start to actually spend money honestly and act as if they were accountable for doing so?
I remember when running a commercial printing company one year during contract negotiations in tough economic times, the employers put forward a proposal to the union negotiators that certain job classifications were to be red circled. What this meant was that there would be no more wage increase for that type of work classified worker and that the job would be eliminated over a set time line. Perhaps not elimination, but maybe the time has come for the wages of teachers, nurses, doctors, professors, police and firefighters, high placed government employees to be frozen until the rest of society catches up.
Many would argue that society has been held hostage by these groups long enough and the time has come to change that.
Having a career is all about choices. No one is forced to become what they do become trade or career wise. And no one is forced to remain in that field forever. They can change careers if they want to if they deem that what they are paid is not what they deserve.
But few do, don't they?
In B.C. where a provincial election campaign is underway, the same lack of comprehension is displayed by both major parties. The heavily favoured to win socialist NDP agrees that the province is heavily in debt but instead of offering a plan to stop the money bleeding away down a black hole, offer all kinds of goodies – bribes- to the voter as a way of getting elected. Just to name a few, freezing fare increase for ferry service to and from Vancouver Island to the mainland. Increasing money flow to the education system-read teachers and teachers assistants there. Increase social welfare payments. One question – where is the money coming from for all this largesse?
And the soon to be Opposition, former Government Liberal Party promises to eliminate the total provincial debt “soon” by the brand new liquified gas industry profits.
Of course the industry is almost non existent and may take up to a decade to come on stream if it ever does.
What fantasy world do they live in anyway?
Can you imagine what your mortgage banker would say if you went to them and asked for a cheaper, longer term of even forgivable mortgage based on your promise that maybe one day you might win the lottery or find a million dollars under a rock?
And politicians wonder why people no longer come out to vote.
Could it be that the average citizen wants to hide and hopes not to be noticed and taxed yet again and again?
I think so.
OK, over in France, bus drivers in the crime-stricken city of Marseille have announced on Friday they are to take strike action over restricted working conditions.
Their grievance?
They don’t like “the quality, the colour or the fit” of their new pants.
Once again, only in France one supposes.
And what of this news “flowing” out of Germany? Apparently stiff market competition and reduced consumption by consumers are forcing German breweries and craft beer shops to cut beer prices in half! Oh the horror!
Industry experts proclaim with completely straight faces that these price cuts could affect the quality and integrity of the amber hued brew.
I think these so called “experts” are in cahoots with those in the Egg and Milk Marketing boards in Canada that fix prices to the detriment of the consumer.
Want to get an idea at how tough the economy is in Spain these days?
Figures released by the Spanish National Bureau of Statistics (INE) offer the following figures. Of the 25 million homes in the country, over 3.3 million or almost 14% are EMPTY! That is a result of people either walking away from them or being evicted for non payment.
That is incredible.
I really did not want to talk about this, but I have to. And that is the horror that occurred in Boston, America this week at its world famous marathon race. By now we have all read and seen and heard the details so there is no need to repeat them here sadly.
What evil prompts people to do these things?
One weeps for America yet again.
But rest assured, the American people are resilient and will triumph over this obscenity, of that there can be no doubt.
And good for them.
So, some good news now.
I have written before about my 3 surrogate daughters and this past week I got some great news from the “entrepreneur” in Regina. I will become a “virtual” grandfather this fall as she and her beloved are expecting their second child! How cool is that? She sent me some snaps of her ultrasound and that was something else indeed. I told her that I thought I saw a resemblance to me with a triple chin and a pencil thin moustache in the pictures but she told me that maybe I needed to have my eyes checked!
It seems that "he" is actually a "she"-oops!
Also this week, we (as mentioned previously) are hosting our friends from Regina and they arrived in Victoria on Friday. I fully expect that they are walking around with smiles on their faces as they are, at least for a while, away from the snow that still blankets Regina.
We have (actually this itinerary was planned by my better half ) a whole swack of things to see, do and eat while they are here and I anticipate that when they do leave for Regina at the end of the week, that they will have had a great time.
Anyway, take care out there,

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