Who needs the Twilight Zone when you have real life? Did you hear about the pillow fight caper in Detroit? The Associated Press put it this way: “Police in Detroit have ruffled some feathers after they cracked down on an organized pillow fight at a downtown park.” The organized pillow combatants followed protocol for a worldwide internet event. A kind of “wield pillows not guns” sort of thing.

Before it was all over, police had confiscated pillows claiming that a massive feather clean-up lie ahead. Good grief! The same could be said of Newt Gingrich, much in the news over the weekend for his conversion to Catholicism. Seems his latest wife asked him to. Newt promptly used his new-found religion to attack President Obama. The Newtster, described as a serial adulterer on the internet, claimed the President does not represent Catholic values and so should not accept the invitation to deliver the commencement speech at Notre Dame. Double good grief! Newt’s the guy who delivered divorce papers to his second wife while she was laid up in a hospital bed with breast cancer. Gingrich needs mandatory time in front of a mirror.

Locally, Stan Smith of Bishop stirred some controversy when he called ’em like he sees ’em in Mammoth Lakes. Stan questioned the musicians’ tax and various euphemisms like the scenic route as masked escape route, etc. Some folks said Stan should mind his own town. Others emailed our website to say, “You go, Stan!”

Some in the audiences at recent Bishop City Council and Bishop High School Board meetings appreciated that officials noted the growing Hispanic population and the importance of inclusion of this segment of our towns. Bishop High Board Chair Carl Lind pointed to the idea that board members should represent geographical areas to make sure everyone is included – the Hispanic and Native American populations. Particularly if the two school districts unify, resulting in one larger school board.

Some state legislators continue to take shots at what they call the bureaucrats at the California air Resources Board who have demanded the state’s gas stations install new gasoline nozzles. Many of the small businesses can not afford to pay for the expensive equipment and nearly one-third of the stations in California have failed to comply and face hefty fines. Inyo State Senator Dave Cox agrees with Governor Schwarzenegger that California should delay these kinds of expensive regulations until the economy recovers. We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom love it when bureaucrats nip at each others’ heels!

Are you superstitious? Seems many of us do exhibit the nagging inclination to imbue inanimate objects with scary significance. You know – black cats, ladders, cracks in the sidewalk – that sweater you wore the day you got demoted. A new book examines this phenomenon. “Supersense: Why we believe in the unbelievable” by Bruce M. Hood. The author seems to think our brains are built to harbour superstitions. At least we’re not alone in our eccentricities.

British philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill said, “The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.”

Something to remember when you may think you have failed conformity and are about to despair.

And, hey, if you want to buy a home but need a little help, don’t despair. Sounds like the City of Bishop may pick up a program that the Inyo Supervisors left lying on the floor. Mammoth Housing, Inc. offered to handle the entire grant program – not costing Inyo or Bishop anything – to help first-time home buyers with a down payment. Bishop City Administrator Rick Pucci cautioned council members that some citizens don’t like government helping people with a place to live. These days, why not foster all the help possible to keep roofs over heads and hearts and minds happy.

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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