Real Talk, James Bond, and James Whitmore

The Bureaucrat Beat newsroom staff spent the week-end watching the political pundits on TV and reading about the hideous state of affairs. One thing we all agree on – politicians should stop with the party rhetoric. The people of our country really do not want to hear why their ideas are so far superior to everyone else’s while they do nothing to help us.

We want to hear the politicos get on TV and say, what can we do to help the people. They are suffering. They have lost jobs, homes and happiness. We want to hear them say, “Let’s consult the best minds of our nation, the most brilliant economists and find answers.” So far, no one has said any of this.

Our week-end research reminded us that just because someone finds themselves elected to Congress does not make them geniuses. They’re just people who may have no particular insight into how to run a nation. The smartest ones will say they don’t know what to do but will find people who have intelligent ideas.

As we continued our research, we ran into a friend of Bureaucrat Beat who had spent time watching a James Bond movie on TV. Her comment – James Bond knows what he wants and how to get it, not like bureaucrats. Good observation. Maybe what we need in government right now are James Bond stealth workers who will infiltrate the legislative branches and get some things done! James Bond for Governor!

Speaking of actors, we read an entertaining article in the Los Angeles Times which revealed special words in movie jargon. We see how these same words apply to current politics. Take this one – rhubarb, in film lingo, means gibberish or generic dialogue by extras in the background of shots. We frequently feel that rhubarb is afoot in public meetings of our elected bodies in the Eastern Sierra. Ask any reporter, who will tell you, yea, they’ve listened to public discussions and had no clue what was said.

A Goofie, in movie terms, means a frightening, weird shot in a horror or mystery film. Once again, back to the public meetings. We’ve shot our share of video Goofies and later said, yea, that was frightening and weird.

On to the genius side of Hollywood – James Whitmore who died on Friday at 87. He was what the folks in Tinsel Town call a character actor. He became the people he portrayed. Like Harry Truman and Brooks, the convict in Shawshank Redemption. We hear from folks who knew him when he lived in Mammoth that he loved words and used to write long notes on flowers he sent to his wife and daughter-in-law. We found on the internet where he once said, “I have no regrets, real regrets about any darn thing. I think second-guessing one’s self is the most futile thing in the world.” James Whitmore – Talented and wise.

A new group of Californians has taken on the Republicans in the State Legislature. The Courage Campaign finds that Republicans have violated the bribery statute in the penal code by holding the budget hostage in exchange for gutting environmental and labor protections. Courage Campaign members will ask Attorney General Jerry Brown to prosecute. Who knows? Somebody in Sacramento needs prosecution.

We all need more whistleblowers. People whose consciences have reached the boiling point, and they can’t take it any more. A woman who worked for the Bush Administration eavesdropping on phone calls in the name of fighting terrorists went public that she felt bad about listening in to innocent citizens’ conversations with no court warrants or any other real authority. She felt it was a violation of Constitutional rights of privacy. We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom agree. If the government wants to listen in, they go get a court warrant like the law says. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Anyone who trades liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security.”

Under the “They Just Don’t Get It” Department, we’ve all rolled our eyes at the Wall St. tycoons who raked in bail-out billions and continued to spend jillions on junkets and undeserved bonuses. Let’s add members of Congress to the elite crowd of the greedy clueless. The Associated Press wrote about Congressmen who spent $100,000 at a Virginia resort on their three-day annual retreat. The officials told reporters that they’d spent hours on serious talk about the economy. Oh, yea, how come they didn’t do all that weighty chatter back at the Capitol building on their own time. A further insult – an earlier retreat included legislators and lobbyists! How cozy.

A government watchdog group, Campaign Legal Center said, “They don’t get that these are tough economic times, that Americans are struggling and they need to do their part.”

We have an idea. Let’s find the poorest home in each district and assign the congressional representative to spend a week there with the same amount of money the constituent has and the same burdens. Short of a visit from Scrooge’s dead business partner, Jacob Marley, we don’t know what else to suggest.

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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