Bureaucrat Beat: computers to the death, missing millions and “gentleman bitch”

“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.






35 Responses to Bureaucrat Beat: computers to the death, missing millions and “gentleman bitch”

  1. Trouble August 15, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    Benett- since you brought it up and your the only reporter I know the name of , has our DA taken any of the grand juries suggestions to heart and started releasing public info. to the media?

    • Benett Kessler August 15, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      I have received no press releases from the DA, and he did not return my call to him to ask his views on the Grand Jury Report.
      Benett Kessler

      • Trouble August 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

        Any idea when his term is up?

        • Benett Kessler August 15, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

          Whose term?

          • Trouble August 15, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

            Art Maillet.

          • Benett Kessler August 16, 2012 at 8:51 am #

            I believe he has at least two more years to go.

  2. Long live liberal California! August 15, 2012 at 6:25 am #

    Neoconservatives hate people like Gore Vidal.
    He was openly gay.
    I love living in liberal California where the live-and-let-live life philosophy lives on!
    Those other sad people living in California on the far-right who are so full of hatred that they surely would be much happier around their own kind in places like Idaho (home of the skinheads) and Utah (home of patriarchy uber alles).

    • Native Californian August 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

      California has been described as being like a bowl of cereal, full of fruits, nuts and flakes.

      • Self-description August 16, 2012 at 9:28 am #

        Which are YOU, “Native Californian”?

        : >

        • Native Californian August 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

          definitely not a fruit, a little nuts and a major flake. Especially on powder days!

    • And the score is ... August 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

      With 10 “thumbs down” and 0 “thumbs up” re: Gore Vidal being gay, this would suggest this blog is controlled by our happy and well-adjusted friends – the Neoconservatives.

      And of course, none of them ever listen to, or is influenced by, the #1 Neocon talk-radio kingpin, Rush Limbaugh and outspoken hater of gays and liberals.
      (muffled chuckle)

      • Big AL August 15, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

        LOL no Dr. Facts, it means that the fruits nuts and crackers .. all of them do not want to hear all of that BS, just saying.

        • Self-description August 16, 2012 at 9:31 am #

          “…all of them do not want to hear all of that BS”

          So, all of them on this blog is supposed to be hanging on every word of YOURS as the Biggest and truest posting, Big?
          (quiet chuckle)

    • Trouble August 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

      Long Live- show some respect for his family and friends.

    • Problem Solved August 15, 2012 at 7:38 pm #

      Long Live Liberal California,

      ONE like and only FIFTEEN dislikes !!!!


      • Down with Limbaughism! August 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

        It’s no secret that this blog has been overrun and controlled by the Neocon element for quite some time. Now that another opposing force has entered into the picture with another point of view and logic, those same Neocons: Problem Solved, Big Al and Trouble (they could all be one and the same) don’t like it.
        So what?

        • Benett Kessler August 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

          Dear Down,
          The blog is edited by me. People express their views. No big conspiracy here.

          • Your words - not mine August 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

            No “big conspiracy” was suggested. Just an observation of how often the demonized word LIBERAL is used in posting after posting.
            It’s merely a sign of the difficult and polarized times we live in.

          • Calling the shots August 17, 2012 at 9:05 am #

            “People express their views”

            “Focus on something else … maybe he’ll (Neocon kingpin Rush Limbaugh) go away”

            Very interesting editorial.

            It’s good to be the editor … I guess.
            Limbaugh calls what he doesn’t want to hear – “from the drive-by media.”

          • Benett Kessler August 17, 2012 at 9:34 am #

            It’s not an editorial. It’s a wish that people would stop the obsessive broken record and discuss
            something productive and interesting. Or, look for specifics regarding Limbaugh that we might
            think about. Generalized and ongoing put downs don’t lead anywhere.

            Benett Kessler

        • a sorry group August 17, 2012 at 8:39 am #

          Many on this blog adore the OxyContin-inspired, obese, lying windbag who claims to be the the “conservative voice.”
          If so, I feel more sorry for my conservative brothers and sisters more than ever. They clearly know not what they do.

          • Benett Kessler August 17, 2012 at 8:46 am #

            Dear Sorry,

            Why not focus on something else. Maybe he’ll go away.

  3. Eastern Sierra local August 15, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    The proverbial “computer glitch;” computers were built and programmed by humans therefore there is no such thing as a “computer glitch” its human error.

  4. BobK August 15, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    Sounds like you have a little hate inside also….

  5. Dingo August 15, 2012 at 11:16 am #


  6. Greg August 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Hey Live Liberal, if hypocrisy was an olympic event, you just won Gold and in only two sentences!! Live and let live, yet leave!! Try to open your eyes, turn off CNN and the networks and seek the truth about which demographic group are sad, bitter, stressed out, delusional and more likely to commit domestic terrorism! The batman shooter is a liberally educated psycho-babbler (neuroscientist), the Arizona shooter….liberal, todays attack on conservative charity….liberal!
    Funny how recent studies show conservatives to be happier, married longer and donate to charities at twice the rate of liberals. You and yours might learn something about truth if you could ever get off the main stream media nipple!

    While I’ve got your attention, ponder this. Geographically, California is extremely conservative. It is only the urban jungles of San Fran, LA and San Diego that provide the liberal vote, so you might want to rethink your bigotry living here in the Eastern Sierra. Funny tho, how liberals are bailing out of the cities and leaving the under priviledged to stew in the liberal entitlement policies that are directly responsible for generational poverty. How arrogant of you all to create that reality and rather than stick around to fix it, you all just move away and pretend it’s not your fault! Now there’s sad!!

    • Benett Kessler August 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

      I really wish you all would quit picking on each other.

      • Jason August 16, 2012 at 5:06 am #


        Your right. But anytime someone’s biases or insecurities are picked, the ‘debate’ can descend into personal attacks and the opportunity to learn something is lost. If someone would present some facts, and then render their take, then that might show some promise for actually taking a conversation somewhere. Kind of scary how polarized the likes and dislikes are for these comments.

        Greg and Long Live,
        I’m guessing you both are wondering why politicians can’t get their heads out of their ashes to make some real changes. Well, if they are representing groups of people like yourselves, staunchly polarized, is it any wonder they can’t work together or settle on a compromise? If the two of you were locked in a room, and told to not come out until you had reached a compromise on some issue; I wonder how long that door would remain shut? For as long as that door remains closed, that also indicates your state of mind. Nothing gets solved because each of you can’t see the merits in each others arguments. If you’d at least validate what each other is saying, then you both might let your guards down a bit.

      • Ugly American August 16, 2012 at 5:24 am #

        Go to the source.
        For many years now, one talk-radio personality has successfully captured an audience that now listens to him faithfully 3 full hours a day, 5 days a week and reruns on weekends. His format is the same. Demonize Democrats by referring to them as “liberals” again and again and … This liberal-bashing has spread so thoroughly an completely today that now several authors and other talk-shows and even an entire network has capitalized on it. This in-your-face-negativity is spreading in this country becoming more forceful and uglier all the while maintaining they are the only true American group (the way fascism spread in Europe) and this is not letting up. Unless someone can produce an equal but opposite history of talk-radio pundits, authors, and an entire nework that bashes conservatives (aka Republicans), whenever the L word comes up as an end-all to any topic, there is no other alternative today than to counter this ploy, again and again, and ….
        Get used to it.

      • Dingo August 16, 2012 at 7:36 am #

        Benett, What fun would that be?

    • Webster or Limbaugh? August 16, 2012 at 6:27 am #

      Please define “liberal” for us Greg.

  7. McCarthyism on the rise August 16, 2012 at 6:04 am #

    Actor Kelsey Grammer says the Emmy-Awards snubbed him because of liberals.
    This is an example of how far the demonization of the L-word has become.
    To the nastiest in our society, the word has come to mean a communist.
    McCarthyism is on the rise again.

    As an experiment for this blog, let’s see how long the usual suspects can go in their postings without the use of the word (demonized definition, of course) LIBERAL as and end-all to the subject discussed.

    • Webster v Limbaugh August 16, 2012 at 10:44 am #

      In similar precarious economic times, Joseph Goebbels was a master of propaganda for the Third Reich. He was known for his zealous oratory and anti-semitism. He used his skills via daily radio programming to whip up support for the Nazi Party who had all become wealthy men. He commandeered the state radio to produce live broadcasts to his angst-ridden followers searching for anything to improve the German economy. His message was simple. Demonize Jews, all government social programs, homosexuals, gypsies, and convince listeners he was a champion of the proletariat. His power was awesome and the results are history.

      Today we have the same bad economic times with radio being used effectively on the most angst-ridden American masses. Only this time around Jews have been replaced with other fabricated demons. The most obvious being illegal immigrants and more recently, anyone wearing a turban. The attack against homosexuals, a woman’s choice, birth control, etc. are now presented in the form of moral issues. But the most obvious difference is a new internal enemy they call “the liberals.” So effective has this political propaganda program been, that many of the right-wing people merely throw in this word as a catch-all and end-all to all philosophical and social arguments.

      For the record here is how the word LIBERAL is defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary:

      free; belonging to the people; to grow up; suitable for a free man; not restricted; 2. giving freely; generous; large or plentiful; ample; abundant; not restricted to the literal meaning; not strict; tolerant of views differing from one’s own; broad-minded; not orthodox or conventional; favoring reform or progress as in religion or education.

      That being said, whenever the word LIBERAL is used on this blog, if it happens to veer from its original meaning in its presentation, as in a personal attack, or supposed to be adding substance to the topic in question, all steps will be taken to correct the poster and posting. There is too much at stake as the country becomes more polarized than ever before since the Civil War.

  8. johnjcampnfish August 16, 2012 at 6:56 am #

    Objective journalism: Koch brothers’ credibility increases with their ability to fund things that I agree with.

    • Benett Kessler August 16, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      Bureaucrat Beat is not objective journalism. It’s an opinion column. You missed the point.
      The fact that the men who dismissed any acceptance of climate change paid for the professor’s
      study means on the face of it that the professor did independent work and did not merely
      offer up pseudo-science to please his benefactors. Personally, I tend to go with the best
      science available on scientific questions. I always hold an open mind for additional info.
      Benett Kessler


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