“From city halls to county courthouses, from the State house to the White House – bureaucrats control our lives. Public servants who often try to become our masters. People whose salaries we pay, but what goods and services do we get? On Sierra Wave’s Bureaucrat Beat, we’ll report what they’re up to.” That’s the Bureaucrat Beat declaration of dissatisfaction, but as you may know, Bureaucrat Beat talks about so much more.
Yeah. Like this – Conventional wisdom says we don’t need to regulate. Business people are sensible and can handle their own affairs. Right. Check out the Los Angeles Times headline: “Trading debacle shows Wall St. frailties”. We’re not talking about dabbing their eyes with hankies. We’re talking use of computer programs, not live human beings, to conduct trading on Wall Street. Oh, gee, guess what happened? A computer glitch!! Knight Capital Group, that handles almost 11% of all stock trades in US companies, according to the Times, might collapse in the trail of a software glitch that “triggered millions of unintended orders.” The company lost $440 million – nearly four times the company’s profit last year.
How many “glitches” have gone unreported because they all want to get the jump on every last fraction of a penny they can get??!! We do not dabble on Wall Street here in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom. We’re too poor and too paranoid. But, come on. Computer bugs crawl around everywhere. So, you risk your entire neck, including the stability of the US economy, on a computer program? Wow. Now, the Times said, Wall Street and Washington are in a tizzy. They fear reliance on computer-driven trading, where stocks are bought and sold “in the blink of an eye,” could lead to a meltdown. Swell. We’re going to buy another mattress under which to stuff cash.
Closer to home, we forgot to express ourselves over the Inyo Grand Jury’s suggestion that Inyo officials avail themselves of a media workshop to learn how to deal with reporters. Please!! We all need to talk so we understand how to talk.
California State government needs to do more audits. First they turned up with $54 million that had been “missing” in the Parks Department. The LA Times now reports that a “sweeping audit” of state accounts found at least $287 million that no one knew was there. Say, what??? The Times story said the recent financial review compared two sets of accounting data “that the state does not routinely compare.” Swell. They found 68 accounts in which bottom lines varied by at least $1 millionHow did this happen? They claim accounting errors and typos!! A little zero here, another zero there.
How much you wanna bet millions have been “misplaced” in just about every state and certainly the federal governments? Try not to think about it.
Don’t think about this either. The federal government may try to squash the US Postal Service, or should we say, insist it go private. Pretty soon the government won’t want to do anything for us. Gee, I wonder how much postage would cost if a private business took it over? Sure, email has kicked the behind of snail mail, but we still need it. One of the best deals in town.
Another provocative headline – “Climate change skeptic is now believer.” That’s the scientist funded by the Koch brothers to check out climate change. Professor of physics, Richard Miller at UC Berkley is quoted as saying that he was very skeptical about global warming. Now, he says, “Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct.” He added that “Humans are almost entirely the cause.” As we in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom sit here sweating from the 100 degree heat outside, this is not terribly surprising. But, a scientific study funded by the Koch brothers, who have tried to dispel climate change, radiates credibility.
Did anyone else pick up on a veiled threat in the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power video on Owens Dry Lake? They basically said that the Master Plan underway for the dry lake, including wildlife habitat and other nice things, will cost a lot of money and if they have to keep spending more money on dust control, they can’t bring wildlife back. Familiar tactic – divide and conqer. Tragically, Inyo people keep falling for it.
Do you believe in signs? Signs of a mystical nature, that is. So, the Sacramento hair-tearing continues over Senate Bill 1148. Some say it will destroy Fish and Game hatcheries and trout planting. Others say it will make it better. CalTrout says it will mean planting of more sterile fish – so they won’t mix with wild trout??? I guess so. Then, one of our website readers sends a photo of pretty ugly and deformed dead fish that Fish and Game planted in Gull Lake. What’s the deal? Fish and Game finds more of such deformities since planting sterile fish. Connect the dots.
Mono County finally connected the dots for Jim Ouimet, owner of Mammoth Dog Teams. He has had no water right at his facility for 7 months. Mono County rents him part of the old Sheriff’s Sub-Station. There’s a well about 400 feet or more away with a line that ran to Ouimet and his dogs. In January – no water. The County unhooked the line. Then refused to do anything, claiming the line was broken.
Finally, on August 9, a Public Works person shows up and, voila! re-hooks the line and it’s fine. Not broken. Was probably frozen back in January. Water for Jim and the dogs.
Speaking of dogs, we want to say how wrong it is to leave dogs, and children, in hot cars!! Saw a woman do that the other day. Little dog barked his head off, waiting for a human to let him out. The mercury topped 100 that afternoon. We called the police. They said a unit would be there. The woman with the dog strolled back to her car before the cops got there.
Heat goes up hugely in a closed car. And, it can make you a criminal. Take the mother of two kids in an LA County area. She was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment after reportedly leaving her 1-year-old son and 2-week-old daughter (OMG) in a locked car, strapped in car seats. The authorities may hit her with a felony. The children lived.
Sadly, Gore Vidal died recently. He was 86. The iconoclastic Vidal made life interesting with his novels, essays, screenplays and marvelous wit. His televised verbal sparring with William F. Buckley makes today’s alleged TV pundits look like rank amateurs (because they are). He called himself a “gentleman bitch.” I like it!
Would-be media types need to take classes in self-awareness first. Next, self-honesty. If they don’t have class and real smarts, don’t try to pass themselves off as experts. Of course, step number two rarely receives attention in any realm.
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.