Bureaucrat Beat: Magical Thinking, No Pills, and No Parking

We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom have figured that if Wikipedia can define things, so can we. Take the term, Magical Thinking. Wikipedia says it can mean the ability of the mind to affect the physical world. Anybody can do that, you say. Like, “I want Chinese for dinner” and you order it. We prefer to say that Magical Thinking comes from a realist who can face facts. Someone who will look and see things. Another word for our Magical Thinking – Common Sense.

ca_legislatureThe guys in Sacramento and Washington need to apply this variety of magical thought. First, face what to them may seem like an unpleasant fact, nevertheless a fact – the people voted them into office to serve them. Arghhh! scream the politicians. Okay. Okay. What if we accept that awful truth? they whine. As they transform their thinking into service for the common man, these politicos listen to the news and draw real world conclusions about what has happened and about how government departments run.

At first, the magic makes them kind of sick, but then as they start to get the picture, “voila!” good deeds. Sometimes conclusions feel bad, but then as the magic sets in the officials find real answers and life is good. That, we believe, amounts to Magical Thinking.

Is this magic or soap opera of the absurd? Seems Governor Schwarzenegger wants to televise the budget negotiations. Egad. Seems the legislature wants to give it a try, too. We just want to warn the muckety mucks that just because they bare their souls, or whatever they’re full of, doesn’t mean we’ll love them. Apparently the Gov feels that full disclosure will pressure some of the dead weight to act. Hey, we say, try anything at this point.

Here’s an airline that will try something new. Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost airline, will bar passengers from traveling with anything other than hand luggage as a measure to cut costs. Next spring, no checked luggage. Gives ironing boards a whole new meaning.

As if we didn’t have enough laws, new ones went into effect all around the nation this month. french_fries News sources said that now California requires that chain restaurants disclose the calories on standard menu items. Now, you can really know how fat you are about to become.

A phone call from one of our Mammoth listeners revealed that no pharmacies were open to the public on Sunday, with all those visitors in town, not to mention needy locals. We called both pharmacies and the answering machines at Vons and Rite-Aid said the pharmacies were closed. prescription_pillsWow. What about emergencies? We do know Dwayne’s Friendly Pharmacy in Bishop was open all day. A little Magical Thinking needed in Mammoth.

Some of that could go around Bishop, too. We heard from business owners in the Whitney Alley area that their customers had no place to park for a couple of days. They said Inyo County put on a training session or some such thing and the workers parked in the parking lot and got away with all day in 2 hour spaces. One business owner suggested that Inyo County give more thought to businesses, up against the wall of a harsh economy.

Togo Tanaka was up against it when he lived in Manzanar. Tanaka worked as a college-graduate journalist before imprisonment at Manzanar. There, he worked as camp historian, documenting the internee experience. Tanaka wrote about political factions that divided the Manzanar population itself. He described Manzanar as “an outdoor jail.” He died recently. Tanaka was 93.

In 2005, Tanaka returned to Manzanar. He saw his old desk and typewriter preserved in a permanent exhibit. In his Los Angeles Times obituary, Richard Potashin, interpretive park ranger, is quoted as saying, “We were very touched to see him. It was like history walking in the front door.” Good to remember.

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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