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Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

License to describe

Posted by Richard on September 24, 2010

According to the Institute for Justice, in the 1950s, one in twenty members of the workforce had to have a government license to do their job; today, it's one in three. Defenders of all this government regulation and control argue that it's all about protecting consumers. That argument is specious enough when they're talking about laws to protect us from unskilled flower arrangers or hair braiders.

But the District of Columbia tops even those absurd licensing examples; it recently decided that tourists need to be protected from sightseeing guides who lack sufficient historical knowledge. So new regulations make it a crime, punishable by up to three months in jail, for tour guides to describe things without a license. Getting a license requires completing a bunch of paperwork, paying hundreds in required fees, and passing a multiple-choice test covering "an arbitrary hodgepodge of knowledge about the District."

Segs in the City provides sightseeing tours of Washington on Segways. Ironically, they don't need licenses for the Segways, or for teaching their customers how to ride them, but they do need licenses in order to describe the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. The Institute for Justice and Segs in the City's Tonia Edwards and Bill Main have filed a federal lawsuit arguing that they have a "First Amendment right to communicate for a living."

Check out this short video. And then support the Institute for Justice's fine work by donating a few bucks

[YouTube link]

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Obama touts Vegas, Obamacare, and dental hygiene

Posted by Richard on February 20, 2010

I've got a bumper sticker from the Independence Institute that has a circle-slashed Obama logo and says "He's not my doctor" (a take-off on the one popular among leftists during the Bush years that said "He's not my president"). Now I think I need another one that says "He's not my dentist, either."

While in Sin City today trying to prop up the fading electoral hopes of Harry Reid, the President completely forgot that he'd previously denounced corporate meetings in Las Vegas as unseemly and gambling trips to Las Vegas as irresponsible. Suddenly, he was cheering for the Vegas tourism industry he'd done such harm to earlier. 

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman still refused to meet with the President.

But this is really about dentistry. Presented with a "What's in it for me?" question about Obamacare from a dentist, the President "hoped" that it would include dental and vision coverage. Hey, the new plan that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi have been crafting in secret is reportedly all but finished — so he should know what it includes, shouldn't he? 

According to the President, cavities in children are a "huge" national problem that hinders their ability to get a good education. Really. 

And he wants everyone to floss. I wouldn't be surprised if the new Obamacare plan included an individual mandate to floss. And wash behind your ears. 

[YouTube link]

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Vacation in Saudi Arabia?

Posted by Richard on July 21, 2006

Dolphins swim in the Red Sea, south of Jeddah, in Saudi ArabiaI’ve had this sitting around for about a week and finally got around to finishing it: At the direction of King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia is promoting itself as a tourist destination:

Abdullah, a reformer, says his country is more than just the former home of Osama bin Laden and a breeding ground for Islamic extremism.

"He wants to show the world a different face to the kingdom, said Mishari al Thaybi, a Saudi writer and analyst for the London-based newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat.

It’s all part of a greater plan to open up the country, to show that though it is Arab and Islamic, it is also modern and moderate.

There’s much for tourists to do and see in Saudi Arabia. It’s not all just desert, you know. There’s scuba diving among the dolphins in cerulean waters. There are stunning, unspoiled coral reefs and pristine Red Sea and Persian Gulf beaches. There are verdant mountains teeming with wildlife. There are hundreds of fascinating cultural and archeological sites.

According to Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdel Aziz, the secretary-general of the Saudi tourism commission, which is licensing tour operators for non-Muslim visitors, Saudi Arabia is eager to have you come and see what it has to offer:

"It not a problem for us to open up. We just want to make sure we are doing it right," Prince Sultan said.

Umm, yeah, well… that "doing it right" part does have a few gotchas for us infidels. Don’t expect any alcohol, and don’t try to smuggle any in; I think they cut off your hand for that.

The tourism commission has prepared a multi-language booklet that explains all the rules you must abide by. Here are a few (emphasis added):

Tours by groups of both sexes will be allowed – as long as a father or brother is with any single women under 40.

"The tourists must comply with the social conducts of the kingdom, to know what’s allowed and what’s not allowed, what to wear and what not to wear," said Saad al-Kadi, adviser to Prince Sultan.

All female tourists will be required to dress according to Saudi tradition: covered from head to toe with only their face, hands and feet exposed. And in the most conservative city, the capital, Riyadh, women must wear a black robe over their clothes.

If tourists choose to travel during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, tourists will not be allowed to eat or drink in public during fasting hours.

One thing visitors won’t do, however, is tour Islam’s most holy sites, including the cities Mecca and Medina. They are off limits to non-Muslims.

And when they say "off limits," they mean it. I believe infidels who ignore the ban and enter Mecca or Medina are beheaded. I don’t know if the tourism commission’s booklet makes that clear. Make sure your satellite navigation system is reliable. Taking the wrong exit could get you killed.


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