Bureaucrat Beat: Angry Fish, Postal Plunge, and More Secrecy

No more Chicken of the Sea for recent fish media stars. In fact, they’re downright tigers! You remember the whale that leptswordfish into the sky and threw himself onto a sail boat. Well, now a giant marlin went postal and tried to attack a boat load of press photographers. Check out Pete Thomas’s story on GrindTV.com. You remember Pete – veteran LA Times reporter lost in the newspaper shuffle.

The outrage of sea creatures these days is not lost on anyone. Okay, maybe it’s just two huge, angry destructive fish. We in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom still stick by our interpretation of the tea leaves – sea creatures are mad at us for caring so little about their atmosphere that we would allow greedy oil giants to spill 200 million gallons of oil into the ocean, with other projects presenting the same risk. Gotta side with the fish on this one.

Speaking of going postal, how about the U.S. Postal Service?!? Did you see the articles that USPS has reported a quarterly net loss of $3.5 billion with cash conundrums into the new year? Good Grief. According to Reuters news agency, the USPS delivers nearly half the world’s mail and has reported net losses in 14 of the last 16 fiscal quarters. Wow.

usps_8-6Revenue in the third quarter fell $294 million from a year ago and expenses went up $789 million. Most of the new expenses? Higher workers’ compensation costs and retiree health benefits. Life as we know it is changing. More email, much less mail, global recession, competition.

We saw the time of change come to Mammoth Lakes this week. Members of the public reacted strongly to news of possible lay-offs in town government. They’re here and more may develop. Some were angry over the pain inflicted on workers, others were glad government would shrink.

We just don’t want to come true what New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize for Economics winner Paul Krugman saidkrugman this week. He wrote that he’s worried those in power don’t really care about all of the out of work people and hard times and will look at the dreadful economic distress as “the new normal.” We hope that won’t happen here and everywhere.

Krugman points a wagging finger at Congress and its refusal to spend anything to create jobs or to even help the suffering of the jobless. Krugman said he fears that politicians and Fed officials will declare that high unemployment is beyond their control. He closed his column with this paragraph: “I’d like to imagine that public outrage will prevent this outcome. But while Americans are indeed angry, their anger is unfocused. And so I worry that our governing elite, which just isn’t all that into the unemployed, will allow the jobs slump to go on and on and on.”

One of our favorite news leads this week – the goofballs in Bell, CA, on top of looting their city treasury, this week refused to turn over public records to the LA Times and others. Do they really think secrecy will protect them? Apparently the Inyo District Attorney’s office does. The lawyers there have refused to return our news calls since before the election. Of course, we wanted a response from DA Art Maillet on his assistant’s public release of confidential documents on his election opponent, Gerard Harvey. No response. We would also like an equal chance, along with other local media, to receive public information about important criminal cases. Veils of secrecy do not look good on public officials.

With that, this is Benett Kessler signing off for Bureaucrat Beat where we await your word on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond.

 
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