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The issues are, lack of transparency, and lack of standards.
These are national characteristics, and manifest at every level of US Government (City, County, State, Federal). The Secrecy Model, created by the Federal Government, has been adopted by every level of Government, because it ensures that the taxpayers have no oversight, so they don't know what they are voting for. Add to this the flag-wavers' insistence that everybody do it their way means that there may be expertise out there, but that doesn't mean it will translate into better and more efficient practices.
Recycling is locally managed. The technology and equipment that is employed comes down to people hand-sifting through stuff. Hey, you want to see it done more efficiently, got to a dump outside Mexico City and watch the scavengers.
I live in Walnut Creek. Here, you can't recycle plastic bottles, unless you remove the cap and toss it in the garbage, because the primitive technology they use can recycle the bottles, but not the plastic caps. In fact, if I want to recycle, I have to get a degree in all the restrictions and classifications of what is garbage, and what is recyclable.
This is symptomatic of the problem that is sinking the US. It is massive Government inefficiency, aided by secrecy and lack of standards, and incredibly complicated procedures that most people don't have the time to study and implement.
While American business has been forced to get leaner and tighter in every way, over the past 40 years, Government at every level has become more secretive, and more bloated.
US business is doing fine. The US Government is not.
Recycling is the step-and-repeat example of amazing Government bloat, secrecy, and incompetence that is sinking the country.
Jay, you are so far off-base with your assessment of the "triumph" of American justice, and the jury system, as the cure-all for America's failing justice system, it sounds little more that a July 4th Rah-Rah-Rah, which I can hear from the Faithful who cling to any fanatic clinging to shreds of conjecture and Belief to support a failing argument.
Forget the Bonds case. The US justice system is in failure, and it ain't coming back any time soon.
The justice system in California is just as flawed as it is throughout the rest of the US. There are no punishments for court officials who lie or flout the law. There are tens of thousands of innocent men and women behind bars because the American justice system is not driven by investigation, but by Belief, and particularly victimizes minorities and males. (Look at the statistics. Don't take my word for it.)
Then look at the Innocence Project. Just the number of falsely accused men on death row who have already been exonerated should give you pause, and when you take into account the tens of thousands of cases where there are serious doubts, and you look at the levels of interference being run by the District Attorneys and courts, when you wake up and smell the flowers, you might begin to wake up to the fact that the jury system in the US is an utterly manipulated environment, staffed by people who do not know the law, and have no idea what must be proved for them to convict.
Seems to me that Prop 8 backers should also consider reintroducing slavery, since they want to revisit the entire issue of self-determination and personal freedoms.
Given the biblical interpretation, that insists that slaves should be taken from other lands, we could look at this as a huge benefit. It would allow white Americans to take Mexicans and African Americans as slaves, and have them do all their menial work for barely the cost of food and a roof over their head.
On second thoughts, that would not be much of a change, would it? But maybe American attitudes would be a little less racist?
Of course, there is always the unpleasant possibility that Native Americans might insist on their rights, and make all white people slaves. So there would need to be some further contortionist thinking, using their distorted Hitlerian ideas of religious supremacy thinking, to ensure that SWASPF's ruled supreme. (Straight WASP Fundamentalists, in case you were wondering.)
Personally, I think we should export all Fundamentalist Christians to their own new Promised Land, right next door to Iran and Iraq, where they can create their own new fractious world order. They could evangelize to followers of Judaism and Islam, and leave us heathens, better known as people who simply want personal freedoms to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, without their clammy religious interference in our lives.
Keep it in your church!
Welcome to America.
In the 1970's, prisoner management moved from rehabilitation to punishment, based on a very flawed report from a couple of psychologists that suggested that rehab simply didn't work.
As a result, recidivism has gone from around 30% to over 70%.
At the same time, California has become ridiculously litigious. Companies are a very easy target for the ambulance-chasing breed of lawyers whose population has exploded in the past 35 years.
So the safe path for any employer is to immediately exclude any person who would provide any kind of leverage to an ambulance-chaser. When a case finishes up in front of a jury, one thing you can be certain of: when you are looking for justice, all you find is 'just us'.
So the State Government has created a police state, a prison nightmare, and unsupportable debt. This has been compounded by crooked cops (ask John Burriss about his experiences suing the City of Oakland et alia), a public that can't be bothered engaging in a political process that is utterly broken, and ''gamed' by cronyistic behavior that goes uninvestigated.
So why would you worry about this tiny tip of the iceberg? Business is fleeing from California, and it ain't coming back.
As somebody who has built two national companies, one of them in the US from a California base, I can tell you I would never be foolish enough to do that again. :)
Unemployment amongst felons is very unfortunate, but it is the tip of the unemployment iceberg, which is about to get worse.
Californian governments (State, County, City) have not come to grips with this recession yet. It is going to get a lot worse, and the idea of taxing more heavily simply raises the overhead costs of living in Oakland. Combine this with the lack of transparency in City and County governments, the 'amateur hour' management, and the crime rate (carefully manicured by the same players), and it is one of the least desirable places in America to establish a new enterprise.
The jobs are not going to happen. I suppose you could get some tourism going, if they don't mind being mugged, or shot by BART agents, but I am rather pessimistic on your future prospects there. Expensive and ghetto.
I work out for several reasons.
First, vanity. I don't like having to avoid looking at myself in a mirror, and I don't enjoy that "Eeeek! I gotta do something about this!" sensation. Its not that I want to spend my life looking in a mirror, I want to be able to present well.
Second, work. I am looking to start a new business. I have built two national companies from start-up, and I now want to do a new one. The last two were in electronics technology. This one is going to be health-oriented. Hard to sell if I don't look the part.
Third, health. This is probably motivation number one, but I am in such great health as a result of lots of exercise, my focus is on the two above, primarily.
Fourth, I like to be able to do very active things without any effort, from white water rafting to skiing to hiking to a gentle walk in the woods. Stay in great condition, and the most strenuous activities become immense fun.
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