Bureaucrat Beat: Glamorous, State Folly and No Room on the Bus

Glamourous. We humans, in many parts, worship glamour. Therein lies the heart of so many of our problems. This finally hit us in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom the other day after we saw yet another tribute to Michael Jackson. Hey, he was a michael_jacksongood dancer/ performer (We used to dance to Thriller back in the day.), but why do so many of us pretend this is all there is? It reminded us of the occasion of Princess Diana’s death. Remember, Mother Teresa died a few days later. Who got all the media attention? The glamorous one, not the saintly one.

So, we looked up the word glamour in the dictionary. It says this: An air of compelling charm, romance, and excitement, especially when delusively alluring. A magic spell; enchantment. Okay. We get it. This sparked a thoughtful discussion in the newsroom. What’s up with the charm jones?

Our chat session revealed that we all got into the charm thing as children. We dug Cinderella and Snow White. You know – the pretend people. But, we all agreed that we grew out of this fascination and into a world of ideas and, well, values. We came to respect people like Winston Churchill, the Texas Rangers, Nelson Mandela, and the kind neighborhood businessman who helps people. So, after many cups of coffee and a couple of boxes of Wheat Thins we came to the conclusion that all the media hoopla over glamorous people amounts to a lack of maturity. Wow. Glad we figured out that one. And, hey, a little coverage of the glamorous is fun, but not week after week.

wall_stOne more thing. All those guys on Wall St. who slipped into criminal acts to make obscene amounts of money, the guys who caused the collapse of our economy? They were into the glamour thing. In fact, even now, many of them just can’t accept that they won’t live glitzy lives in fabulous resorts, posh hotel suites, $2,000 suits and jillion dollar bonuses. Glamour addiction is dangerous.

Some of that has nearly brought the state of California to its knees. We are no experts when it comes to the state budget, but we’re willing to bet that out of control legislators have spent way too much money in the wrong places. They just don’t want to give up their glamorous life styles, which include campaign funds and who knows what all!

People are perturbed about this. We’ve heard damning remarks about state officials from the hair dressers to the produce department. We took a phone call from a listener the other day who said of the state officials, “Who do they think they are?” That’s a good question. Under the sway of self-glamour, they think they’re pretty important. So, the fact that they’ve hung us all out to dry, pay their bills with IOUs and slash money for the poor really has no effect on them. Remember, boys, what happened to the French who said, “Let them eat cake.” After the pastries come the guillotines.

Some bad habits travel in our genes. Genetic code, that is. According to New Scientist magazine, men with gene variationsgenetic_code linked to aggression are more likely to join a gang. About 1/3 of men, scientists report, have a version of a gene that means they are twice as likely to have joined a gang as those with normal genes. We concluded that this means schools must re-introduce hard-nosed discipline to teach kids the habit of good behavior. That’s the kind of weapon they can really use.

Seems over the Fourth of July holiday Mammoth Lakes needed more buses. We received frustrated reports from people who wanted to get to the Village for their fireworks, tried to catch a bus from downtown. The first shuttle was too full. The next bus blew by the stop. The next bus was full too. The conclusion of one woman – “I will never depend on local transportation to get me anywhere on a timely basis.” Ouch. Hey, maybe it’s just busy week-ends, but then isn’t that what Mammoth wants? Maybe there’s a way to work out more transport on holidays.

Caltrans claimed that sidewalks would help transport people to, uh, the desert north of Independence? Okay – Independence Airport, where the traffic is so slight Inyo County doesn’t keep records and to the Caltrans yard on the other side of the highway. Anyway, we heard a story about one Independence resident who lamented the cement and said he found one more reason to hate the sidewalks. When he walks to the fireworks show on the Fourth of July, and has been drinking, he said he’d rather fall in the dirt than on concrete. We feel your pain.

Speaking of the Fourth of July in Independence, Robert Nogales, the Commander of VFW Post 8036 of Lone Pine wrote us a letter to chastise us for failing to properly identify their group in the Independence parade. We do know that there was a bit of confusion due to the highway project, parade entry chaos, etc. The good folks who volunteer their time to put on the small town parade did their best. The start of the parade was rocky and the entry paperwork was mixed up, so initially I mis-identified the veteran’s group coming down the route. I did correct myself, finally. Anyway, we do know the difference between American legion and VFW and we’re all very sorry it was mixed up. We all appreciate so much that the VFW and American Legion members make the effort to come to town and lead off the parade with the dignity and true remembrance of the day. I know we’ll all strive to do a better job next year.

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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