Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday musings

This week saw the marking of an event that occurred 50 years ago.
The President of the United States, Mr. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas Texas.
He served a short time actually, from January 1961 to November 1963 – 2 years and 10 months in total. Not even a full term and yet, the affection, pain and sorrow felt for what was lost in his death has become part of the American soul and consciousness. A mythical legend of the “American Camelot” has been fostered and accepted by the nation.
Is this a yearning for simpler times, such as was portrayed in the imaginary town of Mayberry of the “Andy of Mayberry” TV show from that time?
For indeed, when the life/lifestyle of the late President is compared to the standards today, well to say that he adhered to his marriage vows would be disingenuous at the least. At the best, he was much more discrete than folks like Mr. Weiner or the Toronto Mayor, Mr. Ford are these days.
History says that his handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis was flawed at best and more details emerge yearly as to how he involved the United States more and more into the quagmire of the war in Viet Nam.
And yet..... the longing endures.
Maybe we judge present day politicians more harshly these days.
Maybe not.
I also wonder how different the world might be today if he had lived.
It seems that some sort of deal between six world powers and Iran that calls on Tehran to limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief, has been reached. This according to the French and Iranian foreign ministers.
Some cynics might wonder if this will follow the same mode as all those “agreements” that North Korea has agreed to in order to get loads of foodstuffs from the Americans only to ignore them as soon as the material entered North Korea. You know, the type of agreement that the United Nations so happily embraces as if to point to themselves as relevant and then turn totally mute when broken.
Oh that wonderful Useless Nations....oops again, United Nations...
Off to Germany now, where a 61-year-old man had been sentenced to three years in prison for abetting tax evasion by the court in Kleve, North Rhine-Westphalia. During sentencing, he complained of diarrhoea and was allowed a “potty” break where he promptly broke a window and fled the scene. Compassionate buggers those Germans.
Sadly for the fugitive, he was later caught by police while trying to enter the washroom of a gas station after being recognized by the attendant there.
There has to be a joke about Karma in there somewhere doesn't there?
Speaking of politicians, sure glad to know that those in Spain know who the real enemy is these days. The federal government passed a bill with heavy monetary penalties for 2 groups of law breakers.
The first group, those selling drugs or offering sexual services in front of minors could face a penalty of up to €30,000.
Sounds good and concerned about minors right?
Because the other law is a lot harsher on a more “dangerous” group (at least in the minds of the politicos that is) where unauthorized protesters outside the Spanish Parliament could soon be hit with fines of up to €600,000.
How uncool and hypocritical is that????
And politicians wonder why people are cynical?
Last week I mentioned about Italian momma's boys and this week, well, out of Rome comes a report that satisfies every stereotypical notion one has about Italian lovers and “older” Italian women with balconies. A young couple who succumbed to their passion in the gardens of Rome's Castel Sant'Angelo have been sentenced to three months in prison after being spotted by an elderly woman from the balcony of her home.
Wonder how long she watched them?
Bet you can “see” that in your minds eye!
Also in Italy there was some massive flooding in Sardinia this week. When local authorities appealed for financial disaster relief funds, they were told none were available. Here comes the rub for you. In Italy, like America and Canada, there are taxes on items such as petrol (gas), electricity and other activities deemed environmentally damaging with the money to go to environmental remediation and disaster relief. And just like every other jurisdiction, these funds disappear into general revenue accounts and end up subsidizing other government operations across the board.
Sounds familiar right?
To repeat - “And politicians wonder why people are cynical?
In a case of what or who do you believe, there are 3 reports that came out of Argentina this week.
The first is a claim by the the Argentine agency INDEC (the agency for statistics and census) that the national trade surplus for October rose 25 percent compared to the same month in 2012. While the second report from the same agency details how industrial activity dropped 1.1% in October this year compared to last year. The final report is one from the government, and that it is submitting a bill to the legislative arm to increase the tax on luxury imported cars by 50% from the present levels. All payable in much needed American dollars it seems in an effort to bolster the Argentinian Peso.
So...good times or bad?
Over in my third (after #1- my own, and #2 - Maui) favourite Island Oahu, a State representative, a Mr. Bower apparently has taken a baseball to shopping carts used by the homeless. That is unfortunate as I have always found the people of Hawaii to be very kind to those less fortunate and to destroy these peoples cart just does not seem right. While homeless folks camping in public parks can be visually distasteful and possibly dangerous to both the homeless and the general public, one has to believe that these homeless really, really, really would rather not be in the difficult straits that they are in. In fact one would think that there is probably no one that wants to be homeless – right?
So to attack and destroy their meagre items, well, it just seems so wrong,mean spirited and spiteful.
Hopefully Mr. Brower can re-direct his energies to legislate help for the homeless people towards a better life.
Olu'olu, ho'olu, ho'olu'olu?
Georges Lautner left us this week.
He was a world renowned French film director who made over 40 movies, often comedies, during a career that lasted over 60 years. He worked with stars like Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon and Lino Ventura and died this past Friday after a long illness aged 87.
Who replaces great ones like him these days?
I forget, it seems like YouTube and "selfies" from talentless drones seem to be the answer for modern folks...sigh...
In a case where a lack of a complete plan ends up costing the taxpayer more and more money, here on the Island we have the continuing saga of the sewage disposal plans of the Capital City mandarins. Forget the previous fiascos caused by laziness, lack of detailed (intelligent) planning - all the hallmarks of a bureaucracy (and this seems to be the case at the civic, provincial and federal levels throughout the world) that bows before the mythical money tree that is fed uncomplainingly by the taxpayer? Well now that the city compost is not being done as planned (dreamed) and instead of being done locally is to be trucked to a town down the highway and the sewage "sludge" is to be transported via a now to be built pipeline out of the city and that may force construction of an (unbudgeted multimillion dollar) incinerator word comes that these delays will soon kick in penalty clauses in contracts issued to suppliers for about 1 million a month for delays!
And not a head will roll....argghhhh.....
Oh the poor taxpayer - in more ways than one it seems.
Sometimes it seems like the spirit of Monty Python is alive and thriving here on my Island on the so called "Left" Coast.
Anyway, as my friends on the Sandwich Islands say,
"A Hui Hou"

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