Bureaucrat Beat: Freaky Friday, Tomato Bar Codes! and Gas Price Culture

We just have to mention Friday the 13th since we are the denizens of the dark Bureaucrat Beat newsroom where suspicions and superstitions lurk about in the corners and under our manual typewriters. So, on Friday the 13th, we celebrate the dark side which provides contrast for the light side. It’s all good.

Here’s a somewhat dark circumstance that will hopefully find the light. National health officials remain stymied by the tomato-born salmonella outbreak that sickened 167 people across the nation.

At news time, FDA authorities were still unsure of the origin of the offending tomatoes. Part of the problem? No bar codes on tomatoes and the fact that farmers get tomatoes from many locales. No accountability.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich wants President Bush to toe the line of accountability. Kucinich introduced 35 Articles of Impeachment against the President this week. One accusation – manufacturing a false case for the Iraq War, along with several other causes of action related to the war, including failure to provide troops with body armor and vehicle armor. He also blames the President for directing telecommunications companies to create an illegal and unconstitutional database of the private telephone numbers and emails of American citizens.

Some of our listeners asked us to give the phone number to call to register a view of the Impeachment. 202-224-3121.

Another disturbing news report – Seems that whistleblowers have filed as many as 50 to 75 lawsuits against military contractors who they allege have defrauded the government out of billions. The Department of Justice has reportedly sat on the cases and done nearly nothing.

Other news reports say that the high price of oil comes, in part, from the devaluation of the dollar which comes, in part, from the terrible debt over the war. This now hurts all of us.

At this week’s Inyo Supervisors’ meeting, Board Chair Linda Arcularius suggested to some constituents who had made an obligatory appearance that next time they may not have to make a trip. CAO Kevin Carunchio suggested sending a letter. So far, it’s cheaper to mail than to drive.

Speaking of the gasoline price atrocity, one of our listeners emailed us a picture. It showed a Southwest airplane that overshot the runway at Burbank Airport. It ended up right next to a gas station. Therein lies the real story. 8 years ago, gas cost $1.59 per gallon of regular unleaded. Yikes. What a difference 8 years makes – $3 per gallon difference. Oh, double ouch!

While some things change, big time, others stay stultifyingly the same. Take the article in the recent Laws Museum Newsletter. They excerpted an article from the April 21, 1883 edition of the Inyo Independent Newspaper. It told about the “vexatious delay in mail from the south for points along the Carson and Colorado Railroad and points divergent therefrom.” The article goes on to say that “We have puzzled to account for the fact that letters from Bishop Creek, Independence or Lone Pine for Bodie are four days on the road.” The article goes on to described other intolerable delays in mail, concluding that a postal clerk should be placed on the Carson & Colorado and the letters properly distributed as soon as they reach the train. “Until they do so,” says the article, “people in southern Mono and Inyo County who desire to have their mails in this direction reach their destination in a reasonable time had better send them by Wells, Fargo & Co.”

What can we say? Perhaps one of the indelible laws of nature amounts to slow, circuitous mail?!? Or, perhaps the vexations of the spirit remain the same for man and woman through the ages.

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

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