Do you have get a sneer on your face, as we do in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom, when you hear about the chummy relationships between elected officials and mega corporations? We just read a news story about Governor Schwarzenegger cozying up to General Electric for $3 million to put on a conference at Universal Studios in August. Let’s face it, people, we don’t have what the politicos need – huge amounts of money.

We didn’t get to read as much news as we would’ve liked so far this week because the Census Bureau sent us a nasty letter to say that if we don’t fill out an Economic Census form, we might have to pay a mega fine. They claim we failed to fill out the first form they sent. This is another way our elected officials get money – intimidation by way of filling out forms.

Hey, we don’t make a lot of money with our opinions and revelations about bureaucracy. Isn’t that all you need to know, Big Guys?!?

But we do have a lot of fun. Sometimes that’s worth more than money.

Hey, here’s an interesting tidbit – in our chit chats around town we learned that a number of registered Republicans in our region privately support Barak Obama for President. They are basically saying they’ve had it up to here with the current administration and the way our government functions. Amen to that, Repubs! We’re registered Independent in the newsroom – to further our efforts at impartiality. As one man said, who we talked to last week, maybe the local Republicans will come out of the closet of Political Correctness and go public with their views.

While our state and nation go without universal health care, improved infrastructure, reasonable gas prices and other prices, California Assemblyman Paul Cook works on a bill to keep sex offenders from operating ice cream trucks. Okay, nobody wants a sex offender selling their kids popsicles. Can’t we just agree on that and move on?

Speaking of concerns for the kids, seems the new virtual video game called Second Life may mean risk of sexual exploitation. Second Life provides a pretend existence where who knows what will happen. Recent experiments proved kids could gain access and face risks.

Suggestion? How about focusing on your first life. That’s tough enough without investing time, money and effort on a fake life.

Here’s another one that someone should handle right now and move on. A news report this month said that the US Army issued an urgent bulletin in 2004 to commanders across Iraq to warn that flawed electrical work by contractors had actually caused severe electrical shocks and even electrocutions of soldiers. Pentagon and congressional investigators say that at least a dozen American military personnel have been electrocuted in Iraq because of poorly grounded wiring.

This raises more questions about the oversight of contractors in Iraq. You guessed it. The shoddy electricians worked for KBR, a division of Halliburton. Others reported that the Defense Contract Management Agency director stepped down from his post last week to say that the agency was stretched too thin in Iraq. How about somebody does something about this bureaucratic shame?!?

Here’s one more problem linked to the economic downturn – when someone loses a job, that someone usually loses health insurance for himself and his family. A recent study projects that each rise in unemployment of one percentage point would add 600,000 children and 400,000 adults to the two primary state and federal health insurance programs for the low-income uninsured. You guessed it. Those programs have already lost funding due to government budget problems.

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