We reported on a press release issued a while back that offered up some details about a forthcoming U.S. version of Top Gear. We learned that along with dropping the laid back and loitering look of the British version’s venue, the U.S. version will get new hosts, as well.
Top Gear IS Jeremy Clarkson...period. How in the world can you do Top Gear without Jeremy?? Hell, I have gone out of my way to buy the DVD's that Jeremy has done, because his opinion on cars is usually spot on.
Austin Bay has a terrific piece on Condoleeza Rice's plans for the State Department.
Under the plan outlined yesterday, Rice will expand the U.S. presence by encouraging the spread of new one-person diplomatic outposts, now located in a few cities such as Alexandria, Egypt, and Medan, Indonesia. “There are nearly 200 cities worldwide with over 1 million people in which the United States has no formal diplomatic presence,” Rice said. “This is where the action is today.”
Obviously too forward thinking for most in Washington...
Speaking from experience, diplomatic missions I have had the pleasure (?) of using are like fortresses. The people that work in them are a bit stand-offish and don't tend to mingle with the rest of the expat community. Oh sure, there are exceptions to the rule...but for the most part, they keep to themselves.
Partly, this could be an American phenomenon. Americans, on the whole, don't tend to mingle well with other nationalities. Oh...they like to THINK they do...but when it comes to organizing parties, outings or other affairs, they tend to keep things to themselves. If the person they are meeting cannot discuss the latest episode of Deperate Housewives or American Idol...they are lost. Friends in Bangkok tell me that nearly all the Americans working the embassy and large corporations all live in the same compound in the city...known as 'little America' to the rest of the expat community. They are rarely seen outside this community as it has its own school, grocery stores, etc. They are like shut-ins in a vibrant city.
I've lived here for 2 years on this stint...5 years before...and I have only met, at a social gathering, TWO consular people in GZ (one in 1999 and another this year). They don't mingle well. They tend to be geeks...and I don't mean that in a bad way. To be a diplomat, you had to be a geek. But, it seems as though Condi wants to change that with the outpost idea.
Rice's plan to expand diplomatic missions to the hinter-lands is exactly what a place like Chiner needs. Currently, the American mission is confined to a few large cities...but with over 100,000 Americans living and working in China, you've got to think there are people spread out all over the place than just those 5 cities.
The other piece of what I like about Rice's plan...
As part of the change in priorities, Rice announced that diplomats will not be promoted into the senior ranks unless theyaccept assignments in dangerous posts, gain expertise in at least two regions and are fluent in two foreign languages, citing Chinese, Urdu and Arabic as a few preferred examples.
Read that...you gotta live in a shit-hole before you will be recognized as having a career with State. My company used to regard this virtue highly (service in Chiner in the 90's was a badge of honor), but no longer.
Let's hope she can get it past all the career civil servants that see their position as a birth right...best of luck.
37 years later, the vehicle was found in a shipping container headed to Sweden from Long Beach, NY. Officials checking up on the vehicle found that it had been reported stolen in 1969, and did some pretty impressive detective work to track Poster down to give this story a happy ending.
Read the whole thing. I can recall hearing a story about a Cougar having been stolen and returned some 30 years later. Very cool there are some car lover detectives out there!