Bureaucrat Beat: Happy Birthday, Pigs at the Trough, and a Letter

First, a hilariously Happy Birthday to Bureaucrat Beat Staff member extraordinaire, Bob Todd! Congrats, Bob T. Bob.

Since the Summer Olympics have unfolded in China this time, we decided to look at things Chinese. The Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom staff put our heads together and came up with a way you can feel closer to China during the Olympics.

Of course, you can watch Olympics on TV, and hopefully you saw the opening ceremonies – we decided it was the most fabulous performance art ever!!

You might read The Art of War, written by Sun Tzu, famous Chinese Master from 500 B.C. You will find this book on the desks of many corporate tycoons. The strategies are timeless and applicable to any power struggle situation. Try this: “Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” Contemplate that.

Ride a bicycle only, no car, for an entire week. Many Chinese people still get around that way. Used to be almost all until recent industrialization. Read Thomas Friedman’s book, “The World is Flat” and find out about advances in China.

One more thing to get simpatico with China – try acupuncture. It’s a 2,000 year medical tradition in that country and now fairly common in ours. Or try Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese practice. Many execute the delicate art in the early morning in parks all around China. Tai Chi is said to convey health and longevity.

From China to Japan, kind of. Thanks again to the bartender at Yamatani who said, “Hey, aren’t you that News Chick” One, who doesn’t love recognition. Two, a guy who calls me a chick – rocks!

From the ridiculous to the more ridiculous – pork barrel spending in D.C. Back to the 2008 Pig Book, compiled by the group Citizens Against Government Waste. Get ready to take a dive into the fat!

$2.4 million for West Virginia and the Haddad Riverfront Park.

Worse – $50 million for a program called REAL ID grants. The REAL ID Act was supposed to thwart terrorism with radio-frequency ID technology that has never gone forward, but money continues to be budgeted. Double Ouch!!!

$3 million for a conference center in South Carolina, disguised as an emergency preparedness project.

$32.4 million for California and 10 projects, one of which includes the Hunter’s Point Naval Shipyard cleanup, the possible future site of a new football stadium.

$1.7 million for Kansas, part of which would fund the Brown Mansion in Coffeyville. Seems the mansion is believed to be a site of paranormal activity and has recently been popular for ghost hunters.

$93.4 million for scandalized Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska. He wants to spend all of that on the “Alaska Native Educational Equity Education Act, the Denali Commission for job training activities, a heritage center, a marine ecosystem education program and more.

Hey, some of these things might be all right, even the haunted house in Kansas, but one could say that the more than $17 billion spent on all of these various projects (with no apparent accountability) could’ve been postponed while we take that money and build an effective health care system, a safer Social Security System, a national transit system, more oversight of the FDA. You get the picture – big, important services that serve all not just a few.

Once again, our elected legislators use these pork barrel expenditures to build their political base with favored constituents.

Talk about trimming the fat. And, we will. Fat of another kind, that is. Last time, we told you about science that links obesity and cancer. The current edition of General Surgery News says that “Obese adults who undergo surgery to lose weight may reduce their risk for developing some cancers by as much as 80%,according to a study presented at the 25th annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. Doctors involved said that this study providese the strongest evidence to date that weight-loss surgery significantly decreases risk for cancer – most significantly, breast and colon cancers.

Finally, a letter from Leigh Gaash. She points to the inconvenience of daytime public meetings for those who work. Over the years, many have complained about morning meetings. She writes:

Are you happy with the time of the Planning Commission meetings in Mammoth Lakes? Have you ever wished you could go so you could broaden your understanding of the community development topics, but can’t because they are at 9 a.m. every other Wednesday – a time that the work force are unable to participate? I have started a petition to request that the Planning Commissioners and the Town of Mammoth Lakes Community Development Department work with the community members to reschedule their Planning Commission meetings at a more prudent time. Potentially in the late afternoon or early evening to allow the work force to participate in this important civic engagement process. I want to make sure I do not miss anyone who would like to sign the petition. This is a very critical time in our town – a lot of projects coming forward. It is the voice of the people, the cry of the people that can make a change in our town. If you would like to sign the petition, you can call Leigh Gaash at 934-2443.

Signed, Leigh Gaash

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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