Bureaucrat Beat: Arnold, Are You Here? Too Much Debt and Teen TV Trouble

Here’s a bureaucratic factoid that causes lots of head-shaking. The State of California spends $600 million more than revenue that comes in every month! Yikes! How is this possible? Debt as the American Way, perhaps? Hey, we all have to dive into a little debt, but $600 million a month?!? No wonder California struggles under a budget deficit of $16 to $20 billion.

When we talked to former Mono Sheriff Dan Paranick earlier this week, he was just back from heading up the State Sheriff’s Association for 6 months. This stint in the State Capital opened Paranick’s eyes to the elaborate and all-pervasive lobby system for special interests.

Let’s face it, people, special interests, which are largely very big corporations, run the state, the nation, and likely the world. This is not what the founding fathers had in mind, although they knew the risks.

The Bureaucrat Beat staff heard a rumor that Governor Schwarzenegger came to town here in the Eastern Sierra – perhaps to ski, perhaps to fish. We don’t know for sure, but one of our esteemed staff members wanted to put the word out there to the Gov – hey, how about not cutting the legs out from under California education! There you have it, Arnold.

And, While Big Oil, insurance companies and others smile at record-breaking profits, more Americans continue to lose their homes. News reports say that foreclosures in California hit a record high. Statewide in the first quarter of 2008, 47,171 Californians lost their homes. 110,000 received default notices.

earmark.jpg Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the fine distinction of soft earmarks compared to hard earmarks meant pork barrel spending rolls along. Seems Congress now plays word games in bills that really mean real dollars to pet projects. According to news reports, language makes the difference. For instance, a congressman might include in a bill that he urges or recommends an agency to finance a particular program, which slips the request under radar.

This, after Congress did Adopt strict ethics rules last year which require members to disclose when they steer federal money to pet projects. Now, under mushy words, they’re pretending to do nothing. Eegads!

How about the news on what they’re calling our food crisis? Good Grief. According to the New York Times, over the past few years, the prices of wheat, corn, rice and other basic foodstuffs have doubled or tripled.

Seems more Chinese are rich enough to eat like Westerners, i.e., more meat which takes 700 calories’ worth of animal feed to produce a 100 calorie piece of beef. So, an increased demand for grain.

Plus, the big price of oil figures into food. Drought conditions in some places has cranked up the trouble. You might have heard that subsidized corn production for biofuel has also pushed up food prices and used up valuable farmland for fuel, not food. Some are calling corn ethanol “a scam.”

Others are calling the Bush Administration’s denial of a pending reporters’ shield law more denial of civil liberties. Congress did okay a federal shield law which protects anonymous sources of news reporters under most circumstances. Bush’s cabinet members say this will cause terrorist groups to recruit news reporters so they can learn about classified information.

We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom believe the Administration really fears whistleblowers spilling the beans about things they do that they want to remain secret. Let the sun shine in!

More dirt on the Washington, D.C. gang. Seems they have proposed new fuel economy rules for cars but continue to forbid California from regulating auto greenhouse gas emissions. Controls on global warming are okay if they don’t upset the car industry and as long as California doesn’t try to do it. They’re picking on us!

Wonder if the Capitol Gang has read this scientific account. Seems new research in Iceland shows that shrinkage of the ice cap affects what is happening below ground. Magma has begun to melt more easily beneath the earth. You know what extra magma means – volcanic eruptions!

Finally, bad news for teenagers. Gotta get the TV outta your bedrooms. According to the magazine New Scientist, a survey of 780 17 year olds in US schools shows that teens with TVs in their bedrooms become “slobbier, watched more TV than those who didn’t, ate fewer vegetables, drank more sugary drinks, spent less time exercising and achieved worse grades at school.”

 
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