We will just dive right in today. The bureaucrats who oversee off-shore oil drilling? The Interior Department’s Minerals Management Service. We carped about them last week for their wishy-washy environmental review of oil drilling in the Gulf. They found no possibility of hazards. Oops. Then, we remembered a story more than a year ago about these same bureaucrats, and it’s not pretty.
The Interior Department’s Inspector General found wrongdoing by a dozen current and former employees of Minerals Management, which collects about $10 billion in royalties every year. The reports pointed to “a culture of substance abuse and promiscuity.” These officials accepted expensive gifts from big oil and energy companies, plus they “had used cocaine and marijuana and had sexual relationships with oil and gas company representatives.” In short, they way cozied up to the ones they’re supposed to regulate. The report said this department “appeared to be devoid of both the ethical standards and internal controls sufficient to protect the integrity of this vital revenue-producing program.” How could they reject an environmental impact report from their cocaine and sex buddies? Eeeegad.
Ethical standards and internal controls. Whada we have to do, demand a new law? We’ll call it the Do-Right Law. The federal government could impose the Do-Right Law on Wall St., every federal department or anybody else they can regulate. Of course, the government would have to create the Do-Right Czar or Commission to rule when someone has gone over the line.
Meanwhile, as we flipped through the pages of the Los Angeles Times, here was a full page ad paid for by Las Vegas. The ad showed pictures of the duplicates of world famous landmarks that now stand in Las Vegas. You know, Sin City’s version of the Egyptian Pyramids, The Statue of Liberty, The Colosseum, Michael Angelo’s David, the Eiffel Tower. All of this grandeur gave us an idea. Why not build a replica of Wall St. and the New York Stock Exchange right over a huge casino. It’s what they do there these days, anyway – gamble. Yeah. Folks would walk into the main casino, hear the opening bell and then wager for all they’re worth – literally. The cocktail waitresses would wear three piece suits with short skirts. Actors could stand in the center floor of the casino and yell at each other, ala New York Stock Exchange. We’re placing our bets that someone will do this.
On the local scene, the fine organization known as Altrusa held high tea at Robin Stater’s beautiful Serventi home in Bishop. Sparkling wine was served. Ladies sat at tables in the spectacular garden. It was a fundraiser. Altrusa works for literacy among all ages.
Perhaps the highlight of the tea party was Bishop Police Chief Kathleen Sheehan who arrived dressed in black, found the noon sunlight pretty darned hot and took a dive in the pool – clothes and all. She drew a huge laugh from the crowd and no one objected to her wet tee shirt.
A big congrats to Tom Cage and company. Their Mammoth Car Rentals through Mammoth Chevron has swung the deal to get the Hertz Rent-a-car franchise for Mammoth and Bishop. Cage is hard at work on all of the details, but he said it’s a done deal.
The official signs will arrive next week and you will be able to find them on the computer soon. Cage says he’s talking to Mammoth Airport about the best way to serve airplane passengers, and Cage says he will also set up a location in Bishop. The entrepreneur will go for a creative fee structure. Cage points out that, yes, there are actually people who fly to Mammoth and then want to rent a car to go buy bread at Schat’s bakery. So, they need a car for a couple of hours. The car rental business has already gone to high gear, with more to come.
Mammoth Town Councilman Skip Harvey shot one back to Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory who had held up North Star at Tahoe as an example of a resort that knows how to develop. Harvey pointed to a Sacramento Bee article that said the Ritz-Carlton at North Star was in default and about to tip into foreclosure. Harvey suggested that “The bigger is better theory is not always best.”
Finally, an international team of scientific researchers have found that study participants who wrote down what they were angry about and put it in a sealed envelope actually felt better about the whole thing than those who didn’t. The story will appear in the next edition of Psychological Science. We’re handing out free envelopes here in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom.
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.