Here’s a story that pretty much says it all about bureaucracy gone bad. A jail in northern Texas had somehow allowed prisoners to lock their cells from the inside, sit in recliners and turn off surveillance cameras. Okay. What is this? Fort Worth Marriott?!?inmates.jpg

Wow. An FBI raid and even the Texas Rangers uncovered some of the bizarre behavior. But, in some ways, it’s no more bizarre than the refusal by Congress, so far, to freeze their own salaries. They get automatic pay hikes unless they decline. With the economy in complete disarray, largely due to a lack of regulation by Congress, don’t you think refusal to take more money is the tasteful thing to do??!? We do, here in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom, but then, who listens to us?

Certainly not Congress. At least we join a high profile citizens group called Citizens Against Government Waste. This group has urged Congress to make it their first order of business to freeze congressional salaries at current rates. As the Citizens group put it, why should we pay them more for “presiding over a cavalcade of congressional corruption and mismanagement.” Point well made.

The clowns in Sacramento that still have no 2008 budget certainly, at the very least, deserve no pay raises. Job termination seems more appropriate.

We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom just want to say how sorry we are that local employees of the State have to go through the torture of potential job and pay loss.

We can only further conclude that State Treasurer Bill Lockyer was, indeed, right when he stated six months ago that the problem in Sacramento was “Tooth Fairy Budgeting”, another phrase for wishful thinking. Many legislators seemed to wish they could spend without end. Hey, guys, the end is near!!

While elected officials seem to do nothing to help us out here, the bureaucracies seem to fall right into the same line. Reports say that the Environmental Protection Agency has come up with a cow tax to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Say what?!?

Sources said that the tax for dairy cows could add up to $175 per cow and $87.50 per head of beef cattle. Some news reports say that passage of this unique regulation is far from a done deal.

Hey, how come gas prices zipped back up 10 or 20 cents a gallon over the holidays? The price of oil had not gone up. Maybe demand did. It’s all so artificial. Not artificial intelligence. Artificial money making.

dubya.jpgThe Bush administration left a bit of artifice afloat in California. A recent San Francisco Chronicle column spelled it out. Chronicle Political Writer Carla Marinucci wrote that “The 43rd president’s legacy in the Golden State, according to the unsparing assessment of Democratic consultant Phil Trounstine, is zilch.

She quotes Trounstine as saying that Bush regarded California “sort of like France – as a foreign entity for which he had nothing but scorn. Except for this; He did more damage to California than he ever did to France.”

Trounstine, according to the column, also said that “the greatest legacy of George Bush and his friends is that he wiped out the California energy market in 2001 and forced a Democratic governor out of office.”

It was Bush’s cronies – Enron, Reliant and other oil and energy companies – who drove energy costs through the roof for California, and Bush personally refused to help our state.

Okay. Enough of bad memories. We knew it was bad in 2001, and from there Vice President Cheney went behind closed doors with oil companies to devise a secret energy plan. Swell. Here we are today, bloodied by gas price gouges in the past couple of years and terrorized by middle east oil strangle holds. Thanks a bunch, Dick and Dubya!

Finally, as one local man put it, we don’t munch on caviar and sip Chardonnay much here in the Eastern Sierra, so we just don’t get what these Southern California types are doing with the Cottonwood Plaza.

It’s a finger-pointing, I’ll be darned deal there with a chain link fence around a dead business center. Gotta be a lesson in here somewhere.

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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