The wetlands thing is a bit different. I can’t explain why it takes “two years” to get a permit to turn a shovel anywhere in those counties — there’s likely quite a bit of projection of one isolated case onto the whole involved there. The bill does actually up the acreage swap (from to 2) in required wetlands restoration work, but also let’s credits be paid into a bank of some kind. Sounds great on the surface, but where do payments into that “bank” go…any specialized fund currently administered by today’s state government is at risk for stealing for more roads or other budget holes.
Stones of Burmese origin generally command the highest prices. Strong color saturation, eyeclean or better clarity, and strong fluorescence elevate prices sharply. The vast majority of rubies are "native cut" in the country of origin. Many native cut stones have windows and poor proportions which mar the stones' brilliance and overall appearance. (Such cuts are not generally a sign of lack of skill by the lapidaries, though, but of the need to retain weight in the cut gem which is usually their highest priority). High value ruby rough is tightly controlled and rarely makes its way to custom cutters outside the country of origin. Occasionally, such native cut stones are recut to custom proportions, albeit at a loss of weight and diameter. Custom cut and recut stones are usually more per carat than native cuts, and my own bias is that they are "darn well worth it".
Looking back through the last page or two, I see that I have made it appear as though my motives in writing were wholly public-spirited. I don't want to leave that as the final impression. All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one's own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane. I cannot say with certainty which of my motives are the strongest, but I know which of them deserve to be followed. And looking back through my work, I see that it is invariably where I lacked a political purpose that I wrote lifeless books and was betrayed into purple passages, sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally.