Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Monday, 10 March 2014

Elderly couple kicked out of Culpeper Va. McDonald's for sitting too long -

Elderly couple kicked out of Culpeper Va. McDonald's for sitting too long - 

An elderly couple got the boot from their local McDonald's for sitting too long. However, management and the owner are not answering the question if there really is a 30-minute sitting limit at the Culpeper fast food restaurant?

Carl Becker, 87, a World War II veteran, and his wife Barbara Becker, 81, say they both were at the Culpeper McDonald's on Feb. 21, 2014 about 2:30 p.m. The location is a place the pair has frequented for years when they were approached by the manager.

"And he says you two are going to have to leave. He said your half hour is up and we need to clean this floor," says Barbara Becker. The restaurant was not crowded at the time, she says, and that the two were stunned. This was the first time they had ever been asked to leave a McDonald's.

"We've never, ever, ever been kicked out of a McDonald's," she says adding that they've have been patrons of the fast food chain for decades and since their own children were kids. The couple has six children ranging in age from 43-61 and 14 grandchildren with one on the way due March 10.

"Now our grandchildren are McDonald's lovers," she says adding that they spend lots of time at McDonald's because they are on a fixed income and it's affordable. Her husband loves getting the chicken sandwich, she says and that it's a treat for the both of them to just eat, talk and enjoy each other's company.

Carl Becker wrote a letter to the editor of the Star Exponent about the incident.

But Barbara Becker says, "We were kicked out unnecessarily and we're just not that kind of people." The couple has been back to a McDonald's since the incident but not the Culpeper location. The restaurant owner has reached out to the couple.

Bob Drumheller, the owner of the McDonald's Culpeper franchise, issued a statement:

"I care deeply about the comfort and satisfaction of my customers. My organization takes these matters seriously, and is investigating the customer's claims. I have also reached out to the customer to extend my apologies for this misunderstanding. Our focus will continue to be on serving our customers and providing them a welcoming experience."


China's Pollution Problem (In 1 Stunning Chart) -

China's Pollution Problem (In 1 Stunning Chart) - 

The disgusting images of face-mask-wearing Chinese going about their daily business in minimal visibility and lung-busting conditions are strewen across the interwebs. However, even fake sun-rises pale into significance when the full dismal reality of China's pollution problem is put in context. Perhaps the following chart is why China's latest round of reforms appear to 'declare war on pollution'.

And it seems that has finally tipped the Chinese over the edge to do something about it... (via Charles Kennedy via OilPrice.com)

On March 5th China’s Premier Li Keqiang declared war on pollution, outlining significant steps the Chinese government will take to improve air quality. China has suffered from truly epic smog over the last two winters, choking its cities’ inhabitants and cutting off visibility. The pollutants in the air have surpassed hazardous levels, at times jumping beyond the index that measures particulate matter.

"We will resolutely declare war against pollution as we declared war against poverty," Li Keqiang told the legislature, according to Reuters. The central government’s top concern has always been social stability, and the Premier’s announcement that China will take some drastic measures to improve the environment indicates that the government is beginning to worry that air pollution may spark unrest around the country.

Among the measures the government will take, Li said the government’s focus will be on reducing particulate matter (PM 2.5 and PM 10). The government will shut down 50,000 small coal-fired furnaces in 2014, and overhaul power plants in high intensity industries. China will also reduce steel production by 27 million tonnes in 2014 – equivalent to the total output of Italy. Also, the government will look at reforming energy pricing in an effort to pave the way to greater use of renewable energy and nuclear power. The government also hopes to remove six million high-emissions vehicles from the nation’s roads.

The speech comes after an announcement last month by the powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NRDC) that the government will spend $330 billion to reduce water pollution. Much of China’s agricultural land and rivers are contaminated with heavy metals.

Over the last several decades, China has succeeded in lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty, often described as the greatest achievement in poverty reduction in human history. China hopes to continue to grow, but now with a greater pro-environmental focus.
Of course this all sounds great until growth is affected - or a coal plant is shutdown causing contagious defaults across the shadow banking system... at which time we will see just how committed the Chinese government really is...

We believe that coal mine trusts are the most likely to default over the coming months because 1) coal price has dropped sharply in recent quarters; 2) most of the issuers are private enterprises; and 3) they tend to be from provinces whose governments rely heavily on resources related income, e.g., Shanxi and Inner Mongolia.

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