Happy People, Legacy Issues, Bears and Bada Bing

You know, you really can learn a lot when you read news stories. That’s why we in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom favor a daily scan of headlines and a read of the good stuff. Even though we are into broadcast journalism, we still get a thrill out of the flip of newspaper pages. We didn’t have to flip far to find our favorite story of the week so far.

The Los Angeles Times ran a piece on how happiness of yourself and your family, friends and associates makes life better and longer. That’s right. Scientists from Harvard and UC San Diego did the study. The idea? Well-being impacts your health and longevity.

Over some 35 years, researchers found that happy people who associate with happy people are…well, happier! Hey, our founding fathers included the pursuit of happiness as a worthy goal in the Declaration of Independence. Now, keep in mind that for a group of news reporter curmudgeons the concept of happiness usually takes a back seat to cynicism, sarcasm and skepticism. We like to hunch over our typewriters in our dark, dank newsroom and ponder life. Sometimes we actually get answers.

But, hey, if this is what makes us happy, we’re in the groove!!! The new study results show that proximity to happy people counts for a lot, too – more than those at a distance. We do like to probe for answers, so we checked on others’ views of happiness. Mark Twain said, “Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.” He didn’t need to do the study.

Confucius said, “To be truly happy and contented, you must let go of what it means to be happy or content.” We really like that one. Blows expectations outa the water with the Tao of attitude.

Retired TV broadcaster Hugh Downs said, “A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.” From one broadcaster to another – yes!

On to the possibly not so happy. The heads of our major auto companies. One newsman described them as having “legacy issues.” You know, big, impractical, energy guzzling cars. That’s a tough legacy to overcome when you’re begging for $35 billion.

The Owens Valley has “legacy issues”. We gave up our land and water to the more powerful Los Angeles. They still have us over a kind of legacy barrel. We got some of our water back through court fights, but the land thing still smarts. As buildings on Lone Pine’s main street fell to demolition equipment, so did hopes for growth and prosperity. When the old goes, there is no new to come, it seems. As long as LA owns all the land around our towns, we will remain shrunken and shrinking. On the plus side, we don’t have to navigate the 405 freeway in the mornings.

From the legacy of bullies to that of bears and Bada Bing – we’re talking about Mammoth Lakes. A wild town of miracles, of over the top wealth and under the table poverty. We are saddened today to hear that some Town of Mammoth workers, some long time ones, may lose their jobs. They may call it golden handshake, but it’s still a shake up to those who love their work and their town. We are so sorry. The fact that it comes at holiday time does not help. May the change in your life bring new happiness in some other way.

The economic downturn now hits home. Our holiday hope? That those in power use the smartest minds, the kindest hearts and the wisest souls to find answers and put them into action.

We like what Noble Prize winning economist Paul Krugman said this week. He said, “I believe the only important structural obstacles to world prosperity are the obsolete doctrines that clutter the minds of men.” Unbridled capitalism is likely one of the obsolete. How about regulation of the potentially out of control and courage for those who can use it.

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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