View 836 Wednesday, July 30, 2014
“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009
I had an appointment at the Van Nuys office of the California Department of Motor Vehicles. I made the appointment on line in response to a snail mail DMV letter telling me that my driving license would expire on my next birthday, August 7, unless I renewed it. The appointment was at 19:00 AM, and since the DMV is used as the horrible example of bureaucracy by most comics, I got out there at 8:40. There was an enormous line, stretching outside and half way around the building. I went inside hoping that wasn’t the line for those with appointments.
It wasn’t. I didn’t see any information booth or anyone obviously an official who wasn’t working with someone, but then I saw an unoccupied counter window with someone headed toward it. I got there just as she did and asked if there was a separate place for people with appointments. She politely but abruptly told me Window 12, and when I found that I found it was quite well marked as the appointment window, and had about 4 people ahead of me in it. It took about five minutes to get to the window. I had put the printed copy of the appointment I had made online along with the letter from the DMV telling me I was about to expire in my messenger bag, and I took that – what I thought was that – out and handed it to her. She looked puzzled. I leaned over to see, and discovered I had handed her my travel packet from my Hilton Head Island tripe. I apologized and she laughed, and I found the actual packet. In another minute I had another document along with the code F006 and an indication of the screen that number would appear on. There were chairs to sit in while watching the screen. The place was packed, and a lot of people had obviously been waiting a while; but within five minutes F006 appeared, directing me to Window 4. A pleasant chap about 30 with tattoos – lots of tattoos – took my papers and directed my attention to eye charts behind him. He asked did I wear the glasses at all times, I said ‘Oh, yes,’ and I was told what line to read, cover one eye, read another line, cover other eye, read a line. More papers. “Take those to Camera One.”
The pleasant middle aged motherly lady at Camera One took my picture and handed me more papers, and I was directed into an adjacent room where they did things to the papers and handed me an examination, and indicated a booth I could use. A number of reasonable questions with three possible answers, in most cases all three reasonable but one stood out. I missed one, having to do with approaching fire engines with sirens and lights: the correct answer is pull over to the right lane and stop; I checked pull to right lane and go slow, since that’s what everyone actually does. More papers including a temporary license to carry with my expired license until I get a new one in the mail.
The entire process was efficient and everyone was pleasant. I thanked all those whom I dealt with, and they were pleasant in return, and I can’t think of any improvements I’d make to the system. It worked fine. Now I am sure that some will wait all day because they hadn’t made any appointment, but I can hardly fault DMV with that. I was out of there by 10:20.
I put the afternoon into working on a battle scene for Mamelukes. It’s a complicated battle and I have many viewpoints, so it’s hard work, but I think you’ll like it. I’m also working on Chaos Manor Reviews. It’s good to be back at work again, but it’s a bit tiring, and I run out of energy fairly easily.
the broken melting pot
As you look into the current situation, consider the melting pot and it’s proper function and the results of our breaking it.
In Northern California, we have large numbers of both intelligent, educated, legal, and not so intelligent, uneducated, illegal immigrants. A large majority of both groups are from the 3rd world. The result is a seeping in of 3rd world attitudes toward daily live. On the far end of the illegals, 12 to 13 year old crack moms having crack babies or sex as soon as sex is physically possible. On the educated, legal, side, attitudes toward children that would horrify our mothers when we were kids. One woman I know did not attend school until she was 10, and spent much of her child hood looked up alone in her room since her parents were being hunted by the cultural police and were on the run in China. So, to her, leaving her daughter mostly be herself, is no big deal. Another couple I know leaves their kids (9 and 11) alone at night, all night, in their house as mom and dad work to build their dream house. They trust the neighbors to look after their kids. These are the ones I personal know about. Except for the crack moms, which thankfully, I don’t know, the others are pretty much nice people. Their views on life are pretty extreme for our country and there is nothing to bring them to the norm.
I’m not expressing this as well as I might, but my systems engineering senses have been going off recently and I thought I would bring this up.
E Pluribus Unum
The American melting pot worked very well, but we have abandoned it for ‘diversity’; the result was predictable and in fact was predicted by many, including me. America was once one of the few counties you could enter, study to be an American, and become one. You can’t learn to be a Swiss. Your children born there might, but you never will. The same is true for most European countries. But you could and can learn to be an American, and millions did; it was the famous melting pot, and it worked as advertised. Of course the assumption was that you’d want to become an American; that’s why you came here. You might keep some of the customs of the Old Country, but a sentimental reminders, not as part of your core values; you left those behind coming here. But the Progressive notion combined with a preference for Diversity has ended that.
A certain degree of non-conformity was always part of the American system; but not a rejection of the core values that made us one people. But that too is being rejected. If all continues as it is now, the result is predictable.
Amazon speaks on the Amazon/Hachette dispute.
Barry Eisler’s take:
And we can hope that author associations will realize this. I certainly have.
Here is a good peace from techdirt.com that actually gets what’s really at stake between the Amazon vs. Hachette fight. It’s always about money and who is going to control it.
The horizon can’t be seen…
Hidebound and with blinders, protectors of turf degrade the ability to grow. This article is another reinforcement for the re-consolidation of the Army and Air Force.
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Retired.; Former Governor of Wasit Province, Iraq; Righter of Wrongs; Wrong most of the time; Distinguished Expert, TV remote control; Chef de Hot Dog Excellance; Avoider of Yard Work
The Air Force needs to give over the mission of direct support to the field army to the Army; there may have been a time when air power was so specialized and difficult to understand that it needed to be an independent service, and possibly the nuclear strategic mission – SAC – should be an elite separated from everything else as it was under Lemay, but the Air Force doesn’t want the close support missions, and shouldn’t be choosing the targets for interdiction and isolation of the battle area. One the other hand, gaining and keeping air superiority is important and that is complex and requires dedication.
Of course we end up with the worst of all worlds. I recall during the Viet Nam war the North Vietnamese air defense operated from three military airports. You don’t get rid of hornets by swatting one hornet at a time; you take out the nest. You don’t win air superiority by flying bombers toward the enemy, and having their escorts engage the rising interceptors in dogfights – the losing plan Goering attempted in the Battle of Britain. Had the Luftwaffe unremittingly bombed Fighter Command and all its fuel delivery resources, Germany probably would have won the Battle of Britain despite the skill and courage of the young RAF pilots; it was a near enough thing as it was. But having an independent Air Force didn’t give Germany a winning air strategy. Air superiority is won by attacks on ground facilities, not by dogfights. Bombers and their escorts are after the goal of ending the other guy’s ability to repair and launch his aircraft; shooting them down from the air is spectacular but it won’t win the air war.
In Viet Nam the mission was simple, but Johnson and McNamara allowed us to bomb one of them; the other two were forbidden. The result was a number of air crews spending years in the Hanoi Hilton. An Independent Air Force is not independent of a Secretary of Defense whose previous career high point was the Edsel.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.