Bureaucrat Beat: Lost Value, Health Insurance Loopholes, and Twitter Mammoth Mountain!

To those who may think the destruction of trees is just another ho-hum gripe, you may want to think again. We heard from a Mammoth man who said he and his wife thought about buying a sweet little house on Bishop’s South Second Street after looking at pictures. Then they arrived on the street to find wholesale tree removal and sidewalk construction. In the man’s words, “They destroyed the property, and they’re going to fry in the summertime. We won’t buy that house.” The quest for sidewalks can mean a drop in property values. Think about it, homeowners.

Blue Cross and other health insurers have thought about all the nationalized healthcare talk, and they seem to have backed off one of their disgusting practices. According to the Associated Press, the health insurance industry offered to curb the practice of charging higher premiums to people with a history of medical problems – called risk rating. The health coverage giants want to head off creation of a government insurance plan that would probably put them out of business.

Other reports say that the big health cats want a government mandate in return for their wider coverage – a mandate that everyone must, by law, have health insurance. The other loophole – you would still have to pay more for more coverage. So, what sounds good isn’t really all that good. Unless the insurance industry offers real concessions, they need to get out of the way of real health care.

Here’s a good deal. You ever want to know the farmer who grew your food? A new website called Find the Farmer gives you a chance to learn about your food grower or product producer. Seems a new concept called traceability is in fashion in food circles. News reports say that makers of bananas, chocolates and other foods now use the internet to create relationships between consumers and farmers – the way it used to be decades ago. We like that.

We don’t like the federal government’s habit of concealing information from the public. According to the New York Times, the feds employ 107 different categories of restricted information. You know – secret, double secret, triple secret, dirty secret. The Times poses that this rampant keeping of secrets does not focus on protection of legitimate secrets but instead empowers bureaucrats to say no to the people. Congress will try to ease up on the paranoia business.

Congress didn’t give enough money to states under the big, fat stimulus package. Seems California needed $10 billion to balance a sensitive situation, but will get $8.2 billion. That means more cuts for the poor. Reports say as of July 1, California will eliminate optional Medi-Cal benefits for adults. Services like acupuncture, dental care, chiropractic service, eye care and more. Also planned – a 10% reduction in public hospital reimbursement rates. Reductions may come to Calworks and SSI recipients. All we can say is that those hogs at AIG better cough up their millions in bonuses.

Ever wonder what the closure of newspapers does to a community? A new study out of Princeton University reveals that the less local news in a town, the less citizens remain engaged with their government. Voter turn out even dropped in some places. The more media, the better.

Does this also apply to twitter? Probably not. That’s the web-based social network that allows you to read other peoples’ “tweets” about, well, not much of anything. Celebrities twitter to let fans know the most mundane nothings about their lives. Like what brand of toothpaste they prefer. And, here’s the height of wackiness – some twitter sites actually employ ghost writers. You know, to do the twittering for them!! Holy Tweets, Twiddleman.

One of our listeners did point out a useful twitterism. Mammoth Mountain posts ski conditions on twitter. You can sign up to receive ski area updates, and at the same time learn what kind of dental floss Gwyneth Paltrow uses.

Some Mammoth listeners have a message for Bishop’s Stan Smith, “Pick on your own town.”

We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom reached for the Slimfast this week when we read the latest scientific findings of a new study of 900,000 adults. The information revealed that even being moderately overweight shaves years off your life. Here’s one more overweight alarm. Another study shows that being obese at 18 is as dangerous as smoking. Yikes.

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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