Argentina has decided to expand the number of foreign goods subject to minimum import prices, basically so that cheap Brazilian and Chinese goods don't swamp the local market and drive expensive Argentine manufacturers out of business (of course, they won't admit it's aimed at China and Brazil, but it is). The upside? Some manufacturing workers may save their jobs. The downside: everyone will pay more. Freetraders and protectionists, discuss.
Just like last year, Argentina has decided to implement day light savings time in order to save energy (although there is evidence that this does not work). And again, several western provinces rebelled and said they would not change their clocks, in part because that makes sunset in Mendoza fall around 10:30 p.m. and in part, one supposes, because several of said western provinces are governed by Kirchner enemies who will do anything to make La Presidenta and her hubby look bad. Ever aware of their image, the Kirchners have decided that it was their idea that the west doesn't need to turn back to clock, and they've now--on the fly--decided to create split the country into two summer time zones. As one commenter on La Nación writes, "Todo demuestra en éste país que improvisamos día a día, nuestros gobernantes obviamente incluídos."
University of Wisconsin professor (and amigo) James Danky alerted us to this most excellent picture of the White House. Although it was ostensibly lit in pink to raise awareness for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the White House in rosada suggested to us another motive: might this wave of nationalizations of banks and such in the U.S. be making Washington feel a little, well, Argentine?
The city has just put out its schedule of free outdoor concerts, movies, storytelling, poetry, competitive farting (okay, not that) and so on. To those who want to get a little art in the BA parks, check here.
I was always half waiting for it to happen, and now it has. But wow is the timing weird. Today, Argentina announced that, like Brazil and Chile, it will start charging "reciprocal" fees to tourists from countries who charge Argentines fees for entry visas. In other words, because the U.S. charges $131 for an Argentine to apply for a visa, every time an American comes to visit Argentina as a tourist, he or she will have to pay $131 at the airport to get, metaphorically, in the door. Australians and Canadians will be hit, as will visitors from countries from Vietnam to Bulgaria. What this means for the export community, I'm guessing, is that life we suddenly get a bit more expensive for people living here on tourist visas. I assume that every 90 days, upon leaving and returning, one will have to fork over another $131.
Sure glad I just got my DNI made permanent.
Today, the ever-quotable interior minister, Florencio Randazzo, referred to this as an "act of justice". Now, I don't care whether that's a true phrase or an overpoetic way of describing "money-making revenge", but the timing seems odd: amidst a global economic slowdown in, oh, everything, don't you think you'd want to do everything you could to not drive even one tourist away?
UPDATE: It seems that the fee will cover a 10-year "visa", and not be charged for each entry. Phew.
My brother Roddy was born 34 years ago today. What's strange to me as his big sister -- nearly 3.5 years his senior -- is that he died when I was still just 33 years old. The math says he died more than 3.5 years ago, more than doubling our age difference.
While my parents -- along with some relatives and friends -- are raising money for type 1 diabetes research via JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes (go Team Hot Rod!), I'm wallowing in bro/sis photos spanning nearly 30.5 years. The most recent, with Rod as my "Man of Honor" (poor guy), surrounded by my girlfriends (cropped out), is amazingly similar to the goofy shot of us in our middle school years to its right.
Anyway, it's very hard not to be sad today. But the silliness found in so many of our family photos helps.