Stateside: What Does It Mean For Me, Me, Me?
What Does It Mean For Me, Me, Me?
**Bush's space plan**
Many moons ago, when I was let go by TVNZ (like, who hasn't been?), I chose the bag containing some career counseling instead of the money. I discovered that I have no ambition, dislike responsibility, but like to do a job that very few people do. Serving up french fries in a McDonald's on Mars, I decided, was my ideal job.
Well, I'll be jiggered if the very President of these here United States, hisself, hasn't decided to help me achieve this goal. Of course, some churlish folks think that instead of spending a billion dollars on trips into space, the Prez should consider spending five dollars on a cab ride to some of the poorer areas of Washington DC and then reconsider what the nation's priorities are.
Mind you, if NASA (and the Brits, for that matter) can't even come within coo-ee of figuring out the density of the atmosphere on Mars - hence the airbag problems - then I'm going to brush up on my Mandarin and apply to the Temple of the Golden Arches in Beijing instead. Then, when the Chinese space programme gets into fully swing I'll be well positioned to become one of their astrocooks. At 80 years old, I'll be just the right age.
**Schwarzenegger's budget plan**
Oh frabjous day! The Governor has decided to so severely cut funding to the biggest employer in the town where I live that it will have to turn down, systemwide, three thousand new students in the fall. This means a shortage of tenants for apartment buildings and a glimmer of hope that the five-storey block of low-rental apartments proposed for the space directly across the street from me will not be economically viable.
Hurrah! I'll get to look at the lovely redwoods for that much longer before the developers get the planning permission to put up for-sale townhouses instead. I mean, what's the value of an education anyway, when all you have to do to get ahead in this country is make millions of dollars and marry into an influential political family?
**Plans for legalising the "illegals"**
Last weekend I got a call from a market research company, inviting me to participate in a focus group to do with the large financial institution I bank with. (One which was long ago started by an Italian family, and will shortly be in big trouble because of its dealings with Parmalat.)
Sure, I'd be interested in doing that, I said. The caller then asked me several questions to see if I fitted the profile of the people they were looking for. I didn't, because I don't go into the bank and I don't use their money transfer service. After the call ended, it occurred to me that I'd come up as a potential groupee because of my first name.
As recent news items about legalising the status of undocumented Mexican workers attest, money transfers are a multi-billion dollar business in this country. Until recently, "illegals" couldn't open bank accounts because to do that you have to have an acceptable form of ID. Now that a card issued by Mexican consulates in the US is acceptable, there has been a big push by banks to get this new business - especially as the fees charged on remittances are a huge source of profits for the bank.
Memo to self: learn Spanish as well.