UnNews:Governments might let up in 2011

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2 January 2011

This is an UnNews "news round-up"--Giddyap, news!

Preliminary evidence is in that governments around the world might spend 2011 doing less of what they do best: mucking things up.

In La Paz, Bolivia, President Evo Morales welcomed in the new year by cancelling Supreme Decree 748, which was set to jack up the price of gasoline by about 80%, to approximately its real value. He implored his supporters in the suburbs to stop burning tires and toll booths, which he called "not the best use of motor fuel." Gas will continue to sell for about $1.58 per gallon, and Peruvians who cross over for a half-price fill-up will be required to stay for a meal.

The additional money was to go toward a 20% pay increase for all Bolivians, provided they worked for the government. This would have helped them pay for the more expensive gasoline. But now there's no need.

Similarly, in Iran, there are signs that the government may relent in the planned execution by stoning of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who is guilty of either having sex or conspiring to murder her husband, depending on whether you think the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would stoop to something like coerced confessions.

In the United States, President Barack Obama took a more conciliatory tone than in his first two years, as the opposition is set to take control of the House of Reprehensibles. Speaking on the weekly TV, Radio, Internet, and Citizens-Band Address, Mr. Obama said, "We need bipartisan results. We need Democrats who are willing to fund Obama-care, as well as Republicans who are willing to fund Obama-care."

Talking across him in the Republican response, Kelly Ayotte, the new Senator from New Hampshire, dropped the pesky emphasis on specifics, like not funding Obama-care, which had been the battle cry of the Tea Party movement. The personal pick of Sarah Palin proposed to make government more efficient and oriented toward growth and security, with three strategies: Being me, a military spouse; being me, a daughter of businesspeople; and just being me.

In New York City, the Sanitation Workers agreed with Mayor Michael Bloomberg not to take any job actions or work-to-rule slowdowns during future snowstorms, or at least to plow the roads in front of ambulances and fire trucks next time. Mr. Bloomberg, widely rumored to be a presidential candidate and a competent administrator, assured citizens that "96% of your streets are plowed; and at least that many of you are still alive."

On the street, asked to comment on the hopeful chance that 2011 will be free of pesky reforms and back to business as usual, executive secretary Heather Smith simply replied, "What's with the microphone? Is this, like, Karaoke?"

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