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  1. I've been curious about vanity plates here. Maybe you know the answer to this. When you sell a car with a personalized plate, does the plate go with the car (as is normal) or does the plate stay with you? Or maybe the personalized plate just goes "dead"?
  2. A friend of mine has an extremely large property in the far north central part of Costa Rica, not far from the Nica border. It's a very old titled land-grant that is even shown on most maps. It has teak, hardwoods and some protected species of tree in quantities rarely seen nowadays. He's been advertising it for sale on a few web sites for a some years but, due to it's size and the resulting price (multi-millions), it hasn't generated much interest and he's in zero hurry to sell. But about 18 months ago, a prospect appeared and began negotiations while my friend was in the States. Back and forth it went over price and terms until it seemed that a agreement was in sight. Substantial earnest money was supposedly in transit from a mid-eastern bank, all done over the internet - when my friend received a panicked call from his trusted manager who lives on the property. By then my friend was back in Costa Rica and easily contacted. The manager was worried that the property had been sold (he knew a possible sale was pending) because a crew of 50 or so loggers with 10 transporters and a crane had appeared saying that the "new owners" had told them to start cutting down trees. My friend naturally told his man to stand fast - place had NOT been sold - and call in the other "hands" - about 100 live on and around the place. Jose dispatched someone to ring the big old hacienda bell - maybe the first time in 50 years that bell had been rung - the hands came a-runnin'. The stand-off was short and the out-manned loggers retreated. The "earnest" money never appeared and the "agent" and the "prospect" disappeared from the internet. This was a well-constructed and elaborate scam, the internet IP credentials were seemingly valid, the phone numbers seemed to be where they were said to be located and working. Business fronts had been constructed. If the property manager had been unable to reach my friend that day, we estimate their haul would have been a at least a million. And the trees would have faded into Nicaland. Pura Vida.
  3. Interesting that you bring up seismic activity on the Nicaraguan route. That issue has been raised before but not for any sound engineering motivations. In the book Overthrow by Stephen Kinzer he writes: "In 1898 the chief of the French Canal Syndicate (a group that already owned large swathes of land across Panama), Philippe Bunau Varilla, hired William Nelson Cromwell to lobby the U.S. Congress for the Panama Canal. In 1902, taking advantage of a year with increased volcanic activity in the Caribbean Sea, Cromwell planted a story in the New York Sun reporting that the Momotombo volcano had erupted and caused a series of seismic shocks. This caused concern about its possible effects on a Nicaraguan canal. Cromwell arranged for leaflets with the stamps featuring Momotombo to be sent to every Senator as "proof" of the volcanic activity in Nicaragua. An eruption in Martinique, which killed 30,000 people, persuaded most of the U.S. Congress to vote in favor of Panama, leaving only eight votes in favor of Nicaragua. The decision to build the Panama Canal passed by four votes. William Nelson Cromwell was paid $800,000 for his lobbying efforts." So even then it was good to "follow the money" to see the truth. There probably would have been a trans-Nica canal built earlier in 1849 but for the William Walker take-over. Cornelius Vanderbilt had the concession to build one and did operate a temporary over-land route until Walker arrived to rule fleetingly in Nicaragua. The Nica route resurfaced in 1850, 1897 and 1899 but by then the French were rushing to Panama. The French were suckered into the Panama route by Ferdinand de Lesseps (he of Suez canal fame) who grossly underestimated the costs and challenges of a sea-level canal thru mountains and in the tropics. The previously mentioned land ownership in Panama would also have been a factor to the financiers and speculators. By the early 1900s the French had failed (x2) in Panama, making it cheap to take over that attempt (but drastically redesigning the scope to incorporate locks) and using part of the excavation of that failed project. BTW: Some 22,000 men died during the French attempts, most of tropical diseases and sanitation issues. So we can see that engineering has played but a small role in the location of today's canal. As always, it is money and politics that rule.
  4. New York (CNN) -- Two workers at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport post office were exposed to phosphoric acid Sunday from a package that originated from China, a law enforcement official said. The package was identified after workers smelled an odor emanating from it, the official said. A hazardous response team from the FBI responded to the airport "out of an abundance of caution," said Peter Donald, a spokesman for the FBI in New York. The product was identified as organophosphate and secured by Port Authority police. The package was contained to the post office, and airport operations were not affected, the official said. Donald said the package "was determined to be beauty supplies." Another one bites the dust. Next, please.
  5. And I expect they will consider the intent of the following: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Definition of the word "welfare" as originally applied: "Welfare welfare n. 1. health, happiness, or prosperity; well-being. [<ME wel faren, to fare well] Source: AHD Welfare in today's context also means organized efforts on the part of public or private organizations to benefit the poor, or simply public assistance. This is not the meaning of the word as used in the Constitution." ref: The United States Constitution - http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Preamble The Constitutional Dictionary - http://www.usconstitution.net/glossary.html#WELFARE I'm no Supreme but it appears that there is reason to believe that HEALTH is a valid area for government activity.
  6. Hi DanaJ I am sure that MortSahl does not have administrator privileges on the Forum and it requires an administrator to do such a thing. My best guess is that this was seen as a better place for this discussion than the "colone vs. dollar" it was originally in and one of the admins moved it.
  7. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>. The items as listed above are NOT correct. Social Security and DHHS are not a part of the discretionary budget group. Defense/security is discretionary and accounts for 22.22% ($680B) of the TOTAL budget, not 20.1% of only 38%. Defense is also expected to require an additional supplemental spending bill, possibly in the range of $40–50 billion, later this Spring. SS and DHHS belong to the group of "mandated" expenditures, as they are referred to in the budget. They they do account for 60.03% of the total budget and are already fixed in existing law - from many successive administrations. A breakdown within the "entitlements" group, as you incorrectly call them, (which is now codespeak for welfare), you will find Social Security (19.27%) and Medicare/Medicaid (19.21%). Among others are: interest expense, military retirement, veteran's benefits, farm commodity price support, crop insurance, TARP and farm income support programs. This according to the OMB for the latest year (www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2011/assets/tables.pdf) And if you are referring to Social Security as welfare - with the back-door agenda of eliminating it - well, you'll find people like me who paid into it for over 50 years and absolutely demand it's delivered as promised. It's OUR money. Now that the free-for-all on Wall Street has decimated the middle class net worth thru it's "insured" investments, SS is of much more importance. It's the one issue that will unite the lower 90% against the top 10%. Anyone that wants to get knocked silly politically by messing with it - go ahead - make our day. BTW: You're no Mort Sahl. Here's a quote from the REAL Mort Sahl: "Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they've stolen."
  8. Hi there Happy; Paul (Epicatt) is right but maybe a litle soft here - but hey, we love the place and hate to point out the warts but warts there are. Even in normal times there were a multitude of projects in Costa Rica that would never be finished by the original developers. Now, as a result of the recession, it is much worse; a few projects are on their third and fourth resurrections and re-marketing and are about to go bust AGAIN. BEWARE! The legal system here does NOT protect the buyer anywhere close to the extent you are familiar with in the States. There is NO requirement for "agents" to be licensed or have any qualifications. Projects are often started without proper or with questionable permitting (a game of dice in itself) in place and with shaky or minimal capital. So, part way into development (and after lots of deposits have been taken), some governmental agency will issue a "stop" order or the money simply "runs out". And there it will sit, unresolved, until the glacial legal system grinds. I would NEVER commit money to anything here that did not already exist 100% and I would need to see a clear Registro entry (title) on it. Even then caution is the word... I'm not exaggerating. It's the Wild West. There ARE opportunities here but you should not expect that you can make a purchase of one without substantial knowledge, in-person examination and trustworthy counsel.
  9. There must be some strange transformation of Fox programming when viewed from Costa Rica, as TG clearly is a model of critical thinking and discernment. Come on TG - are you Trolling? The above statement has NEVER applied to Fox as known and loved in the States. Consider: Would a true neo-con tolerate anything that offers ideological balance and moderation?
  10. Status? What's a status? I have no status now - I'm not sure I ever did.

  11. WOW - that IS different. I see better edit tools right off the bat..
  12. No, he is not perfect but he is OK by me. I'll bet his successor will not be as fine a statesman.
  13. Laura, I must disagree although I do not know the origination of the charge against this man nor the evidence presented at his trial. I have been unable to find it. If someone has it, it would be very instructive to know. The man himself never spends any time protesting his innocence of the actual charges or even explaining them. In fact just the opposite (see further down). That silence makes him much less than sympathetic. Why he came to Costa Rica and under what guise is not the root, although that is unexplained as well. I do think that there is a little chance that Interpol would have spent what must have been considerable resources to apprend him without the charges being more serious than a couple of ounces of coke passed among friends. It also seems strange that the Wyoming US Attorney would press Interpol for their services unless there was something non-trivial at issue. And I absolutely know that there are corrupt prosecutors and political climbers that will misuse the office to persecute an individual but that does not make the accused innocent. I did find this; purported to be the author's self-bio: "My name is William Freeman and after over 30 years in the drug business and 9 years on the run in Costa Rica I was turned in by a DEA paid informant and arrested by Interpol and Extradited to the United States even though I had won the extradition in the Costa Rica Supreme court." Read: The Costa Rica Extradition After 9 Years on the Run By: William Freeman | 08/01/2007 | Non-Fiction If I were a Costa Rican judge, I would be concerned that an individual had entered my country for the purpose of evading a trial based on the evidence of long-time drug distribution. I would not want him setting up shop in my country either. Seems Costa Rica decided, after some deliberation, that it did not want him in their country. I think they were right.
  14. In North America the historic epic is "it is all about practical-minded people systematically working to attain their goals and ultimately succeeding against all odds." And in Latin America the historic epic is: "It's all about honor and emotions and nothing to do with logic and success." I agree and propose a new epic: "How both were combined brilliantly to the betterment of all." Now there's a quest the old Don would ride for. Any takers?
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