Adventures in Bureaucracy
I am mulling over the idea of a vacation in Europe some time this year, but I don't know where yet. There are the remnants of two thousand years of Western civilization on display in Italy, but I'd also like to see how much Prague and Budapest have changed in the thirteen years since I was last there. Then again, there's the wilds of northern England and Scotland for walking, and I've never been to Poland. Only one thing is certain: I will not under any circumstances make reservations for BA 223
Lots of good posts at PragueBlog (hit the link on the right and see so for yourself), although I think my character is being impugned in this one
. Even though I'm long out of that job (and thank God for that!), I can assure you that there is no vendetta against French citizens. Reading the original sources you'd almost think that every Air France passenger arriving in the United States was slapped around and pawed over while Middle Eastern terrorists are given the red carpet treatment.
It's difficult to for young people to get jobs in a lot of European countries, but not as hard in the U.S. So for years lots of young Europeans would come over to work in the United States. The problem for them is that ANY paid employment is not allowed under the terms of a tourist entry, and in fact ANY paid employment renders one permanently ineligible to come back without a visa. Back in my day, we could grant waivers to the ones who genuinely appeared to be coming in as tourists and not returning to unauthorized work in the United States. Now they don't. That means anyone who violated status even once gets sent back to where they came from, whether they be British, Japanese, Italian or, yes, even French.
And switching posts, this one
on now-former BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan saves me the time of having to write the same thing myself. Although my feelings about Mishal Husain are not nearly as strong. (And as this is completely the wrong forum to discuss my thoughts on Anna Ford in her prime, I won't even bring the up the subject).
is wrong on so many levels. (via Open Book
of all places)
Farm animals, OK, but housepets
? That's just sick.
Another great moment in the history of immigration inspections
, this time in Brazil. We never got to use "inconvenient behavior" though.
So far I've refrained from comment on the proposed guest worker program, but I tend to agree with the Border Patrol officers here
. I was looking forward to sleeping in today. Instead I should have hit the road half an hour ago.
It figures. Yours truly has to have something finished for work on Tuesday morning, so naturally there's a huge snowstorm
headed straight for the Washington area... and despite being the capital of the richest, most powerful country the world has seen, just a little bit of the stuff can shut the entire place down. Bottom line: if the snow is still falling at the beginning of rush hour tomorrow morning, the entire federal government will close down, and Tuesday would be a very stressful day indeed. So dutiful bureaucrat that I am, I went into work today to get all the loose ends tied up in the likely event that there's no work tomorrow. Bring on the snow!
The Post had an interesting article today
on the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo
, in the area where modern China now borders North Korea. It seems that Chinese scholars are finding evidence that it was a Han Chinese kingdom, but this in turn has whipped up nationalist sentiment in Korea.
Is there any way to read this
without the word "cynical" coming to mind? Or "transparent"?
Women of the Border Patrol
... the Iraqi Border Patrol, that is. I wonder whether we'll send over women like this
to help train them. It's a tough job no matter which borders you're talking about.
Speaking of alcohol, while shopping for a non-French bubbly I was amazed to see the familiar green bottle and yellow label of Becherovka
. This was the first time I'd ever seen it in the United States. I had grown to like the stuff many years ago (and it's got health benefits too, or so I was told by my alcoholic friends at the time), so I picked up a bottle for old times' sake.
I wondered how it was selling, so I asked the check-out cashier how many other people buy the stuff. She said she'd never even seen the bottle before.
The ongoing Czechification of the United States is apparently a slow process.
And so another year begins. No Dick Clark, no fireworks, just a great dinner followed by cards with friends and a few glasses of the bubbly stuff. Funny thing about this article touting the great values in champagne
... the analysis seemed way off the mark. The prices are down because of overproduction in the run-up to the millennium and because of two years of fine production in the 1990s? And that's all being felt now in 2004? I can think of perhaps one more reason why the prices for French champagne are low - people just aren't buying the stuff
. I don't know whether my group of eight can represent the typical American consumer, but all the stuff in our champagne glasses this evening was Italian, and that was no accident.