Bureaucrat Beat: Loop Holes, Earmarks, and Political Animals

congressDid they do it on purpose? We’re talking about Congress and its ban on earmark money to profit-making companies. Seems their ban included a big loop hole that corporations immediately began to jump through. Companies can create non-profit divisions and get the earmark cash through that channel.

An Ohio defense contracting firm created a non-profit research division that now looks forward to $10.4 million in new earmark money from Congress to produce body armor that the Defense Department has so far declined to buy.

So, we in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom decided we will form a non-profit division called Bureaucrat Beat Soy Burgers – a sure fire way to cut the fat. We’ll market our burgers to Congress. We’ll design types of soy burgers just for them – the pork out of a barrel burger, the bribery burger. We’ll apply for earmark money and say we’re non-profit, working for the burger enjoyment and good health of Congress. That’ll work. Far more ridiculous has. Talk about ridiculous – last year earmarks added $16 billion to the federal budget. The pay to play culture in Washington keeps feeding on itself, and we don’t mean soy burgers.

If earmarks don’t do it, listen to this. Coaches of all stripes have begun to sell their skills from $180 to $2500 per hour. There’s the Crying Baby Coach who will teach you how to silence junior. The Organic Vegetable Garden Coach will design your garden and tell you what to do. The Positive Dog-Training Coach actually shows clients how to manage bad dog behavior. Anyway, you get the picture.

More than a few movie stars have begun to picture themselves on TV, and, voila, there they are! Gary Sinise on “CSI”, Jeff Goldblum on “Law and Order” Holly Hunter on “Saving Grace”. Now, are you ready for this, Dustin Hoffman will take the TV plunge on HBO with a new drama series called “Luck”. According to reports, the pilot show looks at the world of horse racing – owners, gamblers, jockeys, etc. Should be worth a watch. Our favorite Hoffman flick? “Tootsie”.

Nothing funny about false advertising. The Federal Trade Commission has begun to ding companies that make outlandish health promises on their food packages. The latest bogus health claim comes from a Nestle Company subsidiary that has agreed to stop advertising that its children’s drink called Boost Kid Essentials can “prevent illness, increase immunity and reduce school absences.” Yahoo!! Yeah, that was over the top.

Sounds like we’re getting back to the old-fashioned snake oil products. You know, drink this delicious liquid and it’ll cure what ails you – sore feet, tired back, upset stomach, bad attitude.

Poor Los Angeles people. They just can’t alter the attitude of DWP. They want a consumer advocacy division of the LADWP. Interim General Manager Austin Beutner revealed a plan to give the advocate a yearly budget of $300,000, enough to pay for two workers and administrative costs. Critics snarled and said that means an understaffed effort. A token advocate. Sounds like LA. Good luck, folks.

Talk about luck. How about Mammoth’s Bear Man. He’s got all kinds of television production people in Mammoth from all over the place – producers, directors, cameramen. We hear Steve Searles has his deal with the Animal Planet for more Bear Whisperer shows. Steve had told us earlier that the producers wanted to focus more on the beauty of our area. We like that. Maybe more about the Native American ways and how to co-exist with animals. Searles can co-exist with wild animals and political animals. Looking forward to the new shows.

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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