Bureaucrat Beat: Magicians, Covy of Clowns, and Front Page

We’re all magicians. A philosopher once said that. We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom agree. We all create our worlds, and that’s magic. Pure and simple. So, why scoff at the recent news that a Parliament of Clowns gathered in Dresden, Germany, to pitch the theory that laughter can help us to survive the economic crisis. That’s magic, too.

The covy of clowns pointed to studies that show laughter improves health. One of the clowns was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying that fear can be laughed away, even in economically hard times.

That’s why, even in what may sound like a dark and dismal newsroom, we have a lot of fun and laugh about many things.

You’ve heard of someone who is “all atwitter”? We let out a few giggles and guffaws about just plain Twitter. Have you heard about this new internet site where the fabulous and famous go to recite all of the boring details of their lives? You know, like “I’m pouring coffee right now and will soon add hazelnut coffeemate while my sourdough toast heats up and I open a jar of cherry jam.” You get the drift. Celebs use the blogging site to create their online image, you might say. Talk about the ultimate in dreary narcissism!

While the rich and self-absorbed wallow in their self-proclaimed identities, the public has spoken in a new poll. What they have to say is phooey to government officials and their deficits.

A new poll conducted by a group called California Budget Reform Now shows that those polled support Propositions 1A through 1F – a series of budget reforms. These measures go to a vote on May 19th. 1F, for instance, says legislators and the Governor will get no pay raises if the state runs a budget deficit. We like that!

In the “They were more scarey than we thought” Department, news reports now say that the Bush Administration had laid the groundwork for a virtual police state. Newsweek Magazine reports that Justice Department memos now show that government lawyers had issued opinions to support torture, warrantless wiretapping and even the suspension of freedom of the press all in the name of fighting terrorism.

Newsweek published that “In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Justice Department secretly gave the green light for the U.S. military to attack apartment buildings and office complexes inside the United States, deploy high-tech surveillance against U.S. citizens and potentially suspend First Amendment freedom-of-the-press rights in order to combat the terror threat, according to a memo.”

The threat to the First Amendment was later revoked. We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom find this truly scarey. Other news this week revealed that the CIA has destroyed nearly 100 interrogation videotapes. The investigation into illegal acts of torture prompted the revelation about the tape destruction.

Moving right along to the benign life of the Eastern Sierra. Seems we stand a better chance for healthy lives than some. Dr. Andrew Weil’s latest newsletter says researchers in Michigan found that a brief walk in a natural environment can actually improve memory performance and attention span.

Here’s something to remember – the bureaucrats will mess around with our concept of time this week-end. Yes, it’s here already – daylight saving time starts at 2am Sunday, March 8th. Okay, so we see more light before we call it a day, but the inner clock takes time to lurch forward and play the time game. Can’t they just leave it alone?

One of the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom staff made a tongue in check suggestion the other day. Mammoth officials have brought up the idea of a transient occupancy tax sting in which they trick people into renting rooms and failing to charge taxes. Our staff member said, hey, why don’t they use craig’s list on the internet. That’s the site police used to catch people exchanging drugs for lift tickets.

The internet sleuths, diagnoses, hunts, finds, fascinates and mind boggles. How about the site that lets you look at the front page of almost every daily newspaper in the country. Check out www.newseum.org.

We found that some front pages talk about the same things we talk about. The Grass Valley Union headlined pink slips for teachers, the look of Main St., CHP recruitment of women and money for chambers of commerce. The Tulare Advance-Register spoke of a hiring freeze and a dog that saved his owner’s life. Small world. Of course, then there is the Santa Barbara News Press that wrote of thousands marching for same sex marriage. Big state. Different worlds. Fun website. Hope some newspapers keep going in this world of press failures.

And, 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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