Adventures in Bureaucracy
Mel Gibson's in trouble with the media again. I like this version of the story
As the Professor asked several times in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", "What DO
they teach in the schools these days?"Question answered
This is cheerful
. but it does suggest another possible tourist slogan:
"Washington, D.C. Ground zero... for fun!"
In another dispatch
from the wonderful world of marketing, the city of Washington is looking for a new catchphrase for the tourism literature -- and it costs $150,000
! What could possibly cost that much? There's a task force involved, which pretty much guarantees the most banal and boring results possible. They'd be better off inviting a bunch of people to a bar, getting them loaded, then seeing what comes out. Some of the commenters in the Post article
offer their suggestions for free:
"Zimbabwe without the passport"
"The most self-important city in the world"
"A capitol place for a capital crime"
"Kill some time on our Beltway"
I would suggest "Take a walk on the wild side", but I think they arrested the criminals who were preying on tourists on the Mall, so that doesn't work so well any more. They probably don't want JFK's famous quote about Southern efficiency and Northern charm. How about "As seen on the evening news"? No? Maybe "Visit your tax dollars at work"?
Two things struck me listening to the Gospel reading at church this morning. "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone
" -- everyone should know that one.
First, yet again I was reminded that the more modern translations lack a certain heft and gravity that the older King James Version had. "Go and do not sin any more from now on" may be easier to understand, but "Go and sin no more" sounds nobler.
Second, I kept thinking of that joke with the punchline "Sometimes, Mother, you really piss me off", which isn't noble at all, but it IS
funny. That's more time in Purgatory for me, I guess.
In more visa news:Iranian leader goes to all the trouble of getting a visa to travel to the United Nations, then decides he isn't even going to use it
. You can bet THAT visa wasn't issued by a first-tour FSO! Another fun case involving the C-2 visa
, which goes to people we don't want on U.S. soil so they can go to the United Nations, usually to trash us.Entertainers
granted P-1 visas
after delay caused by name check.
Another U.S. visa appears in Philippine politics
.Student visa fraud
, the low-tech way.Legislation is introduced to drop the visa requirement for Israelis to enter the United States
. I wouldn't hold my breath on the passage of that one.Belgium grants visa to Zimbabwean by mistake
. Whoops.Maltese citizen and forty-year-resident of Australia leaves the country with an expired visa and cannot get back in
. And it may be tough for him to get a new visa: "the Department of Immigration will argue that Alex Vella's position as the national president of Australia's largest outlaw motorcycle gang means he does not pass the good character test." Kind of reminds me of that joke about the difference between a Harley and a Hoover...
Visa policy in action
OK, let's see what we've got -- an arrest and conviction record dating back to the early 1990's
. That alone would be enough to bar him entry to the United States and make him ineligible for a normal visa. However, celebrities usually seem to be able to get waivers for these things. Then again, most celebrities with waivers on their visas don't usually travel with an entourage that starts a fight in an airport lounge.
I always enjoy it when someone prominent is told, "No." It seems to happen so rarely.
When you gotta go...
I don't know how to react to this one. One the one hand, you have to wonder whether people ever think about the consequences of their actions. Pounding back two beers in the airport just before flight doesn't exactly seem like an exercise in good judgement.
On the other hand, people expect functioning bathrooms on their flights. Too much, in fact. Like those people who go to the airplane loo BEFORE THE PLANE LEAVES THE GATE. But you expect the thing in the air. I remember being on an international flight where the captain would turn on the seatbelt sign for what seemed like every bump, and then he left it on for about twenty minutes each time. I probably wouldn't have noticed except that I was coming from an exotic place with an exotic cuisine that did exotic things to my gastro-intestinal tract. Believe me, I was wondering whether the barf bag option would be enough in a pinch.
As far as explaining why the bureaucracy does what it does, this piece rings true to me
. It must be the combination of liability lawyers and the press who seem to think retrospective omniscience is a reasonable expectation.
. And expresses that his fears of being merged into DHS from its inception were largely based on wardrobe. Now he's got much better reasons to fear being merged into DHS! Besides, the polyester uniform pants weren't so bad. There was an allowance to buy them, it saved me heaps by not having to get them dry cleaned, and the things were virtually indestructible. And linen or worsted wool don't exactly hold up too well when you're down at the seaport boarding cargo ships.
I agree with the observations on the people who are trying to get to the United States. The most interesting cases from back when I was an inspector often involved the frustrated middle class from places like China, India or Brazil. These were people who were willing to pay thousands -- or tens of thousands -- of dollars to get to the United States to work.
Consul-at-Arms does back away from his reverse visa waiver program, which is disappointing. I could totally see some posts forming gauntlets of Foreign Service Officers, armed with weapons cobbled together from obsolete office equipment. I don't know how much of a deterrent it would really be, but it would probably help the FSO's to blow off some steam.