Monday, 20 February 2012

08:38 - We did have a pretty nasty evening and night. Sleet turning into snow, a stiff breeze, and wind chills down at one point into the single digits Fahrenheit. Fortunately, it had been pretty warm for several days prior, with temperatures in the 60′s (~ 20C), so the ground and roads were warm enough to melt off the accumulated snow overnight. This morning I’m sure there’ll be glare ice on bridges and so on, but the effects of our Great Blizzard of 2012 should be gone by this afternoon. Colin loved it. It was the first time he’d seen snow. He was running around, digging his snout in and grabbing mouthfuls.

We got a lot done yesterday on the biology kits. If Barbara and I work full-time for the next couple of weekends, we’ll be ready to start assembling and shipping the first batch of 60 biology kits. Several people here have emailed me to ask about availability. I’ll post a heads-up here ahead of the general announcement to make sure my readers here get the first shot. We have no idea how long the first batch of 60 kits will last. They may sell out the first day, or it may be a week or a month.

The financial markets are awaiting the results of the big eurogroup meeting today to see if Germany cuts Greece loose or puts up sufficient money to keep things dragging on for a few more weeks. Ultimately, it doesn’t make any difference. Greece is toast. Everyone knows that, including the Greeks. Merkel is inclined to keep things going for a bit longer, but she’s facing considerable opposition in Germany, including from within her own party.

The problem is, it’s not a question of allocating just $20 billion or so to prevent Greece from defaulting on 20 March. The way things are structured, the eurogroup would have to commit $100+ billion immediately, of which Germany would have to commit the largest share. With the IMF backing away, agreeing to commit only about 10% of the total (versus about a third for earlier bailouts), and with Greece’s economy continuing to tank big-time, the eurozone governments will have to commit much more than originally planned. Regardless of what Merkozy think should be done, they both have their voters to worry about. German and French voters have had enough, long since, and there’s only so far that Merkozy can push.

My guess is that today’s meeting will end in “success”, with an announcement that the new bailout has been approved and that Greece has substantially complied with the requirements. The markets will rejoice. But then everyone will notice that Greece has no chance of meeting the conditions attached to the new bailout, and we’ll be back to where we were, with Greece teetering for a while longer before it actually falls into the abyss.


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49 Responses to Monday, 20 February 2012

  1. Raymond Thompson says:

    Greece teetering for a while longer before it actually falls into the abyss.

    If Greece, as a country, ceased to exist, would anyone really notice or for that matter really care? May be a temporary dip in the available supplies of olives and affect some martini drinkers.

      

  2. BGrigg says:

    Don’t most Martinis use Spanish olives? Just sayin’!

      

  3. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    No, that’s the point. Greece produces essentially nothing that isn’t produced better and less expensively elsewhere. That means Greece can’t earn money from exporting if they’re using the euro. If they convert to a new drachma and let it reach equilibrium with other currencies, they’ll be able to export some stuff again (mainly olive oil), but that means the standard of living in Greece will fall dramatically even from what it is now.

    As I’ve mentioned before, Greece is and always has been a third-world country, and a very poor third-world country at that, that’s been partying for the last 15 or 20 years on borrowed money. When Greece reaches equilibrium, which’ll happen one way or another in the not too distant future, it’s likely to look like Biafra. Literally, with starving people in the streets. Greece cannot feed itself, nor is there any prospect of it being able to pay for food imports. It’s going to end up like North Korea, subsisting on the world’s charity for essentials. And that’s not going to change for the better for a generation or more unless Greece moves to a true market economy. I’d estimate the probability of that happening at maybe 0.1%.

    I’m serious here. Once Greece collapses, I expect the result to resemble North Korea, both in terms of poverty and in having a dictatorial government.

      

  4. Dave B. says:

    Greece’s principal export is tourism. What tourist in their right mind would want to visit Greece now, let alone after the inevitable default?

      

  5. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, it’s pretty hard to attract tourists when the country is literally on fire and every Greek that can get out is getting out.

    We’re already seeing a flood of what are actually refugees, although they’re not being referred to that way, yet. Once currency controls are put into effect, which’ll happen with zero notice, the panic begins. If I had Greek friends, I’d be telling them to do whatever it took to get out. Sell real estate and other non-portable assets at a loss, but get the money in hand and transferred out of the country. Get yourself and your family out of the country, while you still can. Expect border checkpoints with armed guards (on both sides of the border) who will shoot to keep people in and keep people out.

    I expect a lot of Greek restaurants here to soon have newly-arrived family members working in them.

      

  6. BGrigg says:

    So more foreigners putting US citizens out of jobs that they “don’t want to do”?

    As a frequent traveler to the US, I thing the armed checkpoints with armed guards seem eerily similar to the Customs I must go through. Does that mean the US is already a third world country? You seem to have a government that would just LOVE to go all dictatorial on you. Again, just sayin’.

    Greece has somehow survived until today, and for a lot longer than 25 or 30 years, or indeed, much of humankind’s history. They have some adjusting to do, but I can say the same for all of us. They will, however, adjust before we have to, and will likely do it better, as they are used to bad olives, worse cheese and terrible booze. We aren’t.

      

  7. BGrigg says:

    I think, not thing!

    Have I mentioned the lack of editing features before? (attributed to Miles_Teg)

      

  8. Dave B. says:

    As a frequent traveler to the US, I thing the armed checkpoints with armed guards seem eerily similar to the Customs I must go through. Does that mean the US is already a third world country? You seem to have a government that would just LOVE to go all dictatorial on you. Again, just sayin’.

    Those armed guards are trying to stop the flow of illegal drugs and illegal people. (Oops, sorry wrong border!) Those armed guards exist to keep residents of one country from buying things that are priced artificially high in their home country from making a road trip to the other country to buy them cheaper.

      

  9. Raymond Thompson says:

    Don’t most Martinis use Spanish olives? Just sayin’!

    As a non-drinker I will bow to your, ahem, considerable expertise.

      

  10. BGrigg says:

    And, they do a real lousy job, don’t they? And they’re only illegal because your government says they are. They can say a lot of things are illegal, if you let them. And we’re all letting them.

    By the way, BC’s largest industry is pot, and we grow so much we can’t smoke all of it. So, right border! I bet lots of “illegals” come through, too.

    And when a government decides it’s “illegal” for residents to leave the country without the proper paperwork, what then? Is that dictatorial enough for you? When you need a passport to get back INTO your own country, it’s pretty sad.

    I know the US isn’t Greece, but at one time Greece was on top of it’s world, as Babylon, Egypt, Rome, Spain and England have all been. What goes up and all that.

    Bob is right, Greece will end up with armed guards on both sides, but so will we. When I cross the border, I see very little difference between Canadians and Americans, as we have the same ancestors. I face armed guards on both sides who want to see my papers, and it matters not that their allegiance is to “different” countries. I’ve watched far too many WWII movies to think that is anything but a bad thing.

      

  11. BGrigg says:

    Ray wrote: “As a non-drinker I will bow to your, ahem, considerable expertise.”

    Thanks! I’ve spent considerable time and effort on my research, and it’s nice to see it’s finally paid off. :D

      

  12. Paul Jones says:

    Haven’t entered Canada in a few years (2007) but, when I last did so, I was alone on a wide stretch of highway and encountered a “guard” in a toll box with no gate to close who was reading a book. “Where ya’ headed, eh?” (Yes, I’m serious, he said, “eh”. I suspect it is a reg of some sort). I told him Toronto and he said, “Cool. Have a good time.” During the whole transaction, he looked up only once, but he smiled when he did so. I had a pen-knife so I believe myself to have been better armed than he was.

    Coming back to the US was a little different. Anyway, you Canadians are to be congratulated on your border guards. And your weed. I hear it’s good stuff.

      

  13. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Ihre papieren, bitte.

      

  14. Raymond Thompson says:

    Those armed guards exist to keep residents of one country from buying things that are priced artificially high in their home country from making a road trip to the other country to buy them cheaper.

    When I returned from Germany on my one of my trips (the second one I think), I was questioned extensively at immigration.

    Customs: Where have you been?
    Me: Germany, Switzerland and England.
    Customs: Why were you there?
    Me: To visit friends.
    Customs: What kind of friends?
    Me: Good friends.
    Customs: (gives me dirty look) How long have you been gone?
    Me: Two weeks.
    Customs: Why are you entering the U.S.?
    Me: I live here.
    Customs: Don’t get smart with me.
    Me: How would you like me to answer the question?
    Customs: Properly.
    Me: OK. The proper answer is I live here.
    Customs: OK. But watch your attitude.

    Legally I don’t have answer any questions. I am a U.S. citizen returning to my country and entry cannot be denied. Of course the alternative is 72 hours of sitting in a stuffy windowless room with no food or water and a bucket for a toilet. Probably would miss my connecting flight in such a case.

    Germany immigration was a little different.
    Agent: Hello. Passport please.
    Me: Here.
    Agent: Why are you entering Germany?
    Me: To visit friends.
    Agent: Have fun.
    Me: Could you stamp my passport please.
    Agent: No necessary but I will be glad to.
    Me: Thanks.
    Agent: (Thud) Enjoy our wonderful country.

    I felt more like a criminal coming back to my country than I felt when entering a foreign country.

      

  15. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    What was the problem with the old way? When Barbara and I were up in New England back around 1987, we were driving along a country road way up North of Berlin, near the New Hampshire/Canada border. We drove past a sign that said “Welcome to Canada”. We turned around shortly afterwards and passed that same sign. On the side now facing us, it said “Welcome to the United States”.

    That was the same place that we saw a sign that said “Road Under Construction”. A couple miles further along, we were surprised to see that they were literally building the road to extend it where no road had been before. Barbara’s Camry barely made it through.

      

  16. Raymond Thompson says:

    And your weed. I hear it’s good stuff.

    Ask Mr. Grigg. He may have done some additional research into that area.

      

  17. BGrigg says:

    Yes, the old days were great. My sister lives in Grand Forks, BC, which is right on the border, and cross border shopping was common. For years, the best restaurant in town was actually in the US. I have friends who if they cross their street and climb over the fence, just entered the US. It’s an onion field, and the farmer used to plow the street for them with his tractor, as the city wouldn’t bother. It used to be a wave and a nod crossing both ways. In fact, one time the Canadian guy stopped us going down for lunch, to ask if we could get a magazine for him that wasn’t released in Canada yet. It’s still relatively simple, I suppose, but it isn’t getting better, and I expect it will get a LOT worse. The only difference I see is our customs guards and airport security aren’t afraid of shoes. In fact, I’ll quote the last Canadian airport security guy I dealt with, as my flight back from New York was disembarking, and we all started taking off our belts and shoes to go through security to catch our Canadian connection flight. “No need folks, you’re in Canada now, and we’re not afraid of shoes”, so I think it may be official policy.

    BC weed is finest kind. Perhaps the best in the world? Holland may get the edge having decriminalized cultivation so many years ago, but I think whatever potency we may lack, we more than make up for in sheer volume. Why, a grow op in an affluent neighborhood here in Ktown was just shut down last week, and it had over 5,000 plants! And it was one of three busted in town that week. One of which was not 1/8th of a mile from me.

      

  18. ech says:

    I know the US isn’t Greece, but at one time Greece was on top of it’s world, as Babylon, Egypt, Rome, Spain and England have all been.

    Not really. Macedonia (which is not Greece) had a great run for a while under Alexander, but Greece was never as dominant in the ancient world as Persia, Babylon and Rome were – Greece never really had a unified government. Egypt was also a local power, dominating the immediate area, but not really extending it the way later empires did.

      

  19. ech says:

    I will add that culturally Greece was a dominant force in the Med.

      

  20. Chuck Waggoner says:

    I have often wondered what those US customs people are trying to accomplish. I have never been treated well upon returning, from the time I first started visiting my European relatives regularly in the 1970′s. First it was Vietnam. I was seldom out of the country for more than 2 weeks — confirmed by my passport stamps. That indicated I am fleeing the draft? Nevertheless, they had 2 or 3 books about the size of an unabridged dictionary, and proceeded to look me up in every one of them (this was long before the computer era). That little exercise always took about 10 minutes, but every young guy like me was being subjected to the same misery.

    And the lawyers in the family tell me that once you leave this country, because of some Latin-sounding legal principle, you are not guaranteed the right to return. So, cross those customs people at your own risk, because you may find yourself on a plane back to where you just came from — “live here” or not. When I lived in Germany, and was ‘visiting’ the US, I always had to write down where I would be staying — and sign under penalties of perjury. Now, apparently I am free to go anywhere in the US when I am a resident here, without telling anyone; but if my residence is outside the US, they want to track my every move.

    I got as many questions leaving the US when living in Germany, as I did returning. “Why do you live in Germany?” “Do you have a job there?” Depending on how that one was answered, there could be a series of many more questions. I learned very quickly that as long as I was in Volkshochschule learning German, the best answer was, “I am attending school there.” No more questions after that, but if I had to answer that I worked there, I had to fill out forms naming my employer and giving all the particulars, stating my place of residence, citing people who knew me, and several other lines of questioning that fortunately I cannot remember.

    The US government really does not want you to leave this country — even for a vacation, as you then spend your money somewhere besides here.

      

  21. Dave B. says:

    The US government really does not want you to leave this country — even for a vacation, as you then spend your money somewhere besides here.

    I’m not so sure whether the Government gives a darn whether you leave or go. I think certain bureaucrats care about the continued existence of their jobs, nothing more, nothing less.

      

  22. BGrigg says:

    ech wrote: “I will add that culturally Greece was a dominant force in the Med.”

    And that is what I meant. Mere militaristic behavior would have forced me to include France on the list. Macedonia (which is not Greece) nonetheless embraced Greek culture and exported that culture, not their own.

      

  23. BGrigg says:

    Chuck wrote: “I have often wondered what those US customs people are trying to accomplish.”

    Obviously, they are meant to subjugate their own citizens into remaining compliant tax slaves.

    How did Orwell manage to get so much right, while missing the date so badly?

      

  24. Jim Cooley says:

    “I learned very quickly that as long as I was in Volkshochschule learning German, the best answer was, “I am attending school there.” No more questions after that, but if I had to answer that I worked there…”

    Whoa Chuck, THANK YOU! You may have saved me a lot of hassle once I move down to India and start working there. Customs always picks on me when I return to US and I’m inspected almost every time. Conversely, I always get the Green Line when entering India. Go figure!

      

  25. Raymond Thompson says:

    Customs always picks on me when I return to US and I’m inspected almost every time.

    Well, if you did not look like such a shady character……….

    And the lawyers in the family tell me that once you leave this country, because of some Latin-sounding legal principle, you are not guaranteed the right to return.

    Interesting. I have read and understand otherwise. That you cannot be denied entry into your home country. That you are a citizen of your home country and are entitled to all the rights of any citizen. I would be interested in finding out. I read it on a story about some chap having trouble returning to the US but my google searches have turned up nothing.

      

  26. Raymond Thompson says:

    I did find this.

    Article 12, Section 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ratified by the U.S. Senate on April 2, 1992 (138 Congressional Record S4782), provides that, “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.”

    http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/ccpr.htm

      

  27. BGrigg says:

    I was once trapped on the Peace Bridge between Fort Erie, Ontario and Buffalo, NY, unable to enter either country. This was September 18, 1981, and my friend, who is Scots though he had lived in Canada for almost 12 years, and I decided to drive to NYC for a day trip. We left Toronto at midnight in an effort to drive though the night and hit NYC early, as we could only afford to stay the one day. Actually, we couldn’t even afford that, but went anyway.

    We had stopped at the Canada Customs side to register our camera equipment, so we wouldn’t be hassled coming back, before trying to enter the US. The understandably suspicious US Customs agent, it was now 1 AM, decided we were trying to enter the country for nefarious means, and turned us around claiming we didn’t have enough money (we didn’t!). Halfway back, I asked my friend if he had his passport with him. He didn’t.

    So we were stopped while they checked him out, and we were finally allowed back in. Whereupon we drove to the next entry point and achieved entry. The highlight of that trip was discovering Simon and Garfunkel playing a free concert at Central Park, which is how I remember the date so accurately.

      

  28. Chuck Waggoner says:

    “No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.”

    I think that word “arbitrarily” is the key here (although this is not the principle I was referring to). We also have the right not to be arbitrarily stopped to be breathalyzed or have our vehicle searched, but both of those happen around here all the time. In fact, they get so much in contraband from I-70 running through this county, that they publish articles in the Tiny Town newspaper about how remunerative it is to the Tiny Town Sheriff’s office, as they can sell most of the contraband and use the proceeds as operating revenue. Everyone around here applauds that. It is all based on profiling — apparently ne-er-do-wells usually haul illegal stuff in rattle-trap cars and trucks.

    I have a cousin who actually practices immigration law out on the West Coast (Oregon). I’ll see if I can get more info on the issue. But my lawyer dad always told me to be extra courteous to the customs people, regardless of how they treat you, because they can send you away. Somehow I don’t think that has changed since he stopped practicing in 1994.

      

  29. Raymond Thompson says:

    We also have the right not to be arbitrarily stopped to be breathalyzed or have our vehicle searched

    Actually, they have right to stop you at any time for any reason. It is part of the agreement you signed when you got your drivers license. They can also ask for a breath test as that is the implied consent law. What they cannot do is search your vehicle “just because”. They have to have reasonable suspicion such as seeing something on the seat, smelling marijauna, or a dog alerting on the vehicle. Personally I think most dogs alert because of a hidden signal or word from the handler.

    The couple of times I have been stopped and been asked to get out of the vehicle I lock the doors. The police ask why and I state “because I do not consent to a vehicle search.” They ask why, do I have something to hide? I did not answer. They also asked where I had been and where I was going and I just remained silent. Still got a ticket.

    I have a cousin who actually practices immigration law out on the West Coast (Oregon). I’ll see if I can get more info on the issue.

    Thanks. It would be interesting to find out. Also, does immigration law really apply to citizens of the country? We are, after all, not immigrating but simply returning. I know immigration law allows you to be deported for a crime but as a citizen leaving the country because of a crime is illegal. And if truth be told I suspect there are a lot of things that the immigration people don’t really want anyone to know regarding the rights of a citizen entering the country. In my four times coming back into the U.S. only person has been pleasant and the other three have been assholes. Probably flunked FBI school and crossing guard school so now they work for immigration.

      

  30. Miles_Teg says:

    RBT wrote:

    “I’m serious here. Once Greece collapses, I expect the result to resemble North Korea, both in terms of poverty and in having a dictatorial government.”

    I wonder if Turkey will take advantage of the situation…

      

  31. Miles_Teg says:

    Ray wrote:

    “Me: Could you stamp my passport please.
    Agent: No necessary but I will be glad to.
    Me: Thanks.
    Agent: (Thud) Enjoy our wonderful country.”

    I don’t know if things have changed much since 2003 but I found getting in to and out of the US to be relatively pain free. As my Qantas flight was approaching LA we were warned by the cabin crew to fill in our entry cards precisely, or we’d be sent to the back of the queue to try again. Of course, I made some mistakes on my form but the passport control guy just corrected them and let me through.

    My hosts took me to Niagara for Easter, getting in to Canukistan was easy and pleasant. The passport guy was wearing what looked like a Mountie uniform and chatted happily with us as he checked our papers. (I suspect he’d just received a package from Bill in BC.) He stamped my hosts’ four year old daughter’s hand with an entry stamp and let us go. Coming back the US passport guy was all business. He was okay but seemed to have the weight of the world on his shoulders.

    Personally, I prefer the businesslike approach but would not have liked the sort of interrogation Ray received.

      

  32. Miles_Teg says:

    Bill the happy pot smoker wrote:

    “How did Orwell manage to get so much right, while missing the date so badly?”

    Orwell originally wanted to use the date 1948, but was somehow persuaded to use 1984 instead, so he was arguably even more wrong than you think.

    But probably not, we all know that there have been crazy totalitarian regimes of left and right well before 1984: in Romania pregnant women had to register that fact with the authorities and if they didn’t bring the fetus to term there could be some very pointed questions. And of course there was the Stasi in the DDR, where husbands and wives informed against each other. And so on.

      

  33. OFD says:

    We live about an hour from the border up here and our daughter goes to McGill and lives and works there in Montreal. Soon we will probably be about twenty minutes from that border. We have found the main crossings to be OK going into Canada but often a pain in the ass coming back in, getting interrogated by our own fucking asshole guards. To put it bluntly, as I perhaps too often do. On one such occasion they had my wife, 80-year-old mother-in-law and teenage daughter out of the car and cooling their heels for an hour in a bare room while they went through the car with a fine-toothed comb. Of course these women must fit all kinds of terrorist and smuggler and dope profiles. So far they have not bothered me, and that is a very good thing because sometimes OFD has a very short fuse, is very large, and suffers badly from PTSD, etc., etc. It could be ugly.

    However…we have learned to cross back and forth at a more isolated location, which, as it happens, is also a more direct route to and from Montreal. There, a guy basically has to be hailed and/or woken up, so he can toddle on out and give us a quick once-over and then a wave. Only him at that spot, no teams of ‘roided-up jerkwater bozo robocops with dogz and tasers. For Quebec Ville there are similar isolated lonely spots along the western and northern Maine border. Of course it is good if your vehicle is in good shape and you’re gassed up, got water and food and blankies, just in case. Even in the summah.

      

  34. Miles_Teg says:

      

  35. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention that those little scanner-readers that they slide the edge of your US passport through in every European foreign country I have entered? Those belong to the US government, who paid to put them there. The info goes to both the country you entered, and to the US government. Wherever you go with a US passport, the US is tracking you — at US expense.

      

  36. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Jim Cooley says

    Customs always picks on me when I return to US and I’m inspected almost every time.

    I have been a high-frequency traveler abroad since I was a late teenager. As a younger person, I was always detained upon returning to the US (but as you note about India, never once inspected going into Europe — including in London and Ireland, where they used to wave you over as you walked down the corridor after getting your luggage, if they thought you needed inspecting). Over the years, I became less and less a person of interest. Maybe growing older has advantages. It still seems to be the young people who get all the attention. However, I have seen 30-40’ish women reduced to tears while their underwear is removed and strewn all over the place, in front of everyone. Customs agents have no mercy on these women, and quite obviously and purposely make things even harder for them. Personally, I don’t think a male agent should ever be allowed to search a woman’s belongings, but decades ago, there were no women working in those jobs.

    Profiling is a big factor in who they stop — in fact, I would venture to say it is the only factor. My only suggestion would be to change everything about how you dress and what you carry. If you carry something (other than computer), don’t the next time. Back in the ‘70’s, I quit wearing jeans, and that seemed to improve my percentages. But I suspect the reverse would now be true, as I adopted jeans for non-working hours way ahead of most everyone else. Someone once told me that coats, jackets or other clothing items with lots of pockets always signal a search for the customs folks.

    What I REALLY find offensive are the dogs they let approach me and sniff everything about me. That is beyond Orwellian.

      

  37. Miles_Teg says:

    I like and trust dogs more than 99% of humans.

    Profiling. At my hotel in Copenhagen I made the mistake of walking into the lobby and towards the lifts so I could go to my room, I was called over to the doorman who wanted to know if I had business in the hotel or was just some bum. (This was 1990 and I was wearing jeans and my University of Melbourne sweatshirt. When I established that I was a guest at the hotel it was all okay but I was asked to leave my key at reception when I went out and pick it up when I returned each time.

    I think women should get used to male border guardscustoms agents looking through their stuff. I mean, what are they embarrassed about? But as to removing women’s underwear in public… Is that *serious*? I would have thought that could only be done in a private room by a female agent.

      

  38. OFD says:

    Ho, ho. I am pretty sure, but could also be way wrong here, because so out of touch in the wilds of Vermont, that the women’s underthings were being removed from the luggage and scattered around for all to gawk it, clearly the activity of male hominids still stuck in some version of puberty.

    And there have been reports of activists going through these simple-minded charades who feign wild arousal when being searched and frisked, and women showing up in thongs and tiny bras, guys in jockstraps, one paraplegic lawyer women in her underwear in a wheelchair, etc., etc. Mrs. OFD has been all too thoroughly frisked by a female hominid, to the point of sexual battery, as have countless others. I might point out here, as I have before, that Mrs. OFD most clearly fits the profile of the girl on the Vermont Maid Maple Syrup bottle (do not buy that stuff or ingest it, fair warning) or the St. Pauli Girl with red hair. Yet they search her, check out her shoes, etc., etc.

    And the sad thing here, as Mr. Grigg has alluded to earlier, is we all know full well this is all utter bullshit yet we sit still for it and keep shuffling along like the fucking pole-axed sheeple we are.

    Meanwhile it is mathematically and physically impossible for the buggers to check/search all the cargo and baggage holds, the shipping containers, etc., and so this stupid charade. When anyone on the inside, say a pilot, points out this stupidity, he is suspended, his house searched, and then cashiered. Pilots a dime a dozen, apparently now, and paid shit, other than the most senior.

    But don’t get me started on Homeland Insecurity and the colossal joke it has been and getting worse by the minute. I need to calm down, maybe Mr. Grigg can send me, in the pursuit of scientific evaluation, some of that BC product.

      

  39. Miles_Teg says:

    Dave, have your cats returned from their round-the world trip yet? Last weekend, when your felines hadn’t shown up, I had to hand the schnauzers back to their owner. They were very annoyed at not having the sport so I took them to a distant suburb and let them cull the cat population. I ended up with almost 30 cat pelts, should be able to make a nice warm coat from that… :-)

    I’m guessing that they saw the schnauzers in my back yard and thought better of their plan to attack me and them. See: cats aren’t as stupid as we all thought.

      

  40. Miles_Teg says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Stpaulisgirl.JPG

    Wow, she almost makes me wish to move permanently to Germany.

      

  41. SteveF says:

    More likely the cats noticed a patch of sunlight and lay down for a nap. They’ll wake up, y’know, sometime.

      

  42. Miles_Teg says:

    Wow, I was just looking up Vermont in Wikipedia. It’s capital has about the same number of people as my suburb. Tiny place…

      

  43. BGrigg says:

    Greg drooled: “Wow, she almost makes me wish to move permanently to Germany.”

    Why? Jennifer England, the current St. Pauli Girl, is from Lansing, Michigan.

      

  44. BGrigg says:

    OFD puffed: “I need to calm down, maybe Mr. Grigg can send me, in the pursuit of scientific evaluation, some of that BC product.”

    It might take a while, they’re on to the shoes. And I sure as hell ain’t putting it where the sun isn’t supposed to be shining, either!

      

  45. ech says:

    They can also ask for a breath test as that is the implied consent law.

    In Texas, you can refuse. There is a DUI lawyer here in Houston that advises against doing a breathalyzer or “roadside gymnastics” if asked by cops. They then need to get a warrant for blood to be drawn. Of course, if they need to do that, your car will be towed and searched “to inventory it”. There are weekends where they have judges standing by to process warrants in real time at all hours.

      

  46. Miles_Teg says:

    Nah, all ya gotta do is find some poorly staffed crossing from BC into Montana, then you’re in the clear

      

  47. Miles_Teg says:

    Down here the roadside tests are just for screening, if you’re over the limit they take you back to the station for a test on more accurate equipment. I think you can refuse a roadside test and be tested at the station.

    You can be charged with two different offences here, that I’m aware of: Driving Under the Influence, and driving over the limit, which is 0.05%. The former is generally the much more serious offence, and you can be convicted of that while being under the limit. There was a story here of a Melbourne woman who blew over 0.3%. The cop who booked her said most people would not be able to function at that level, but this woman had been quite coherent and not wobbly. (She had an infant in the car and was on her way to pick up two other kids. Geez.)

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-21/alleged-drink-driving-mum-six-times-over-legal-limit/3842002?section=vic

      

  48. OFD says:

    I was like unto the Melbourne woman and could “function” very well while totally pickled. This is not, of course, recommended by me.

    The entire state of Vermont’s population is smaller than that of Boston, and we are significantly closer to Montreal than Boston. The state capital is only as large as it is due to the plethora of state buildings, employees and legislators during the session. It is, in fact, the smallest state capital in the country. Three-quarters of the roads up here were unpaved well into the 70s and 80s; there are still party lines in some areas for telephone service; and broadband will always be a dream in those areas as well. No gun laws and (usually) long and snowy winters. Gorgeous autumn, spring and summer.

      

  49. Miles_Teg says:

    I’ve been drunk twice, maybe. The first time it took five Margaritas, the second time six. This was at a work lunch where I staggered back to the office, not at all in a straight line, but felt okay within an hour. I don’t know if I was technically drunk, or what I would have blown if the cops had tested me, but I didn’t like the feeling.

    I don’t like the feeling associated with too much alcohol so I’m pretty careful nowadays.

      

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