Bureaucrat Beat: Drug abuse, Burning Man calling, and crystal ball

“From city halls to county courthouses, from the State house to the White House – bureaucrats control our lives.  Public servants who often try to become our masters.  People whose salaries we pay, but what goods and services do we get?  On Sierra Wave’s Bureaucrat Beat, we’ll report what they’re up to.”  That’s the Bureaucrat Beat declaration of dissatisfaction, but as you may know, Bureaucrat Beat talks about so much more.

We in the Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom have spent time in contemplation over recent weeks.  That was pleasant enough, unless we watched the evening news or read the LA Times.  Egad!  What a state the human race has fallen into.  It’s all very simple – greed, ego, personal power, venality.  Okay, so we know what it is.  Should be really simple to eliminate the problems.  No.  The other problem we forgot to mention is “blind eye” syndrome.

drugsandmoneyTake the drug companies.  According to Public Citizen Health Letter, brand-name drug companies pay generic companies to delay release of drugs that compete with brand-names.  They pay them to delay release of generics for up to nine years!  Big deal?  Well, consider that an amount of brand-name Lipitor costs $205 while while the same amount of generic atorvastatin costs $18.  According to the article, brand-name drug companies pay generic companies as much as $20 or $30 million annually to do nothing.  Bottom line – us poor schmucks are making drug companies rich.  Our legislators have failed to pass bills that would stop this.  They get big bucks from the same guys.

Another depressing story in the LA Times.  Michael Hiltzik’s column on “Why the U.S. has to settle for low-speed data”.  He basically concludes it’s a case of monopoly.  Most of the country gets internet service from Time Warner Cable and Comcast.  Hiltzik reports that they don’t want to spend their billions in revenue on upgrades.  He also reports that the New America Foundation looked for the best internet connection in 22 major cities for $35 a month.  In Hong Kong that money will get you a 500-megabit-per-second download connection.  Seoul, Paris, Berlin and Bucharest – 100 megabits.  In Los Angeles from Time Warner?  10 megabits.

President Obama plays golf with the Comcast CEO, an old friend, and, of course, the two big cable giants spend lots of money on Congress.  A certain part of the world is too chummy to include us.  If you want to read more about that, check out the new book, “This Town”, written by Mark Leibovich who says in Washington even funerals are considered “networking events.”

On to an event of ultimate personal freedom – Burning Man in the far reaches of the Black Rock desert in northern Nevada.  People with purple hair and weird clothes could be seen in Reno stores stocking up for a week of somewhat primitive, wild living.  Some of our local people go to Burning Man.  They see it as head therapy and a lot of fun.  The LA Times noted that cell phone service does not come through well at Burning Man.  No surprise there.  In fact, the Times article says the Burning Man philosophy is “unplugged”.  So who needs cell phones?  Well, it’s a habit some just can’t break, so some of the creative types over there have devised portable cell equipment.

Back to the newsroom where some members have had it with the self-righteous and negative comments on our website.  We’re hitting the trash button on a lot of them that state their “profound” truths with no basis in fact and no productive aim.  Hey, we’re looking for intelligent, thoughtful discussion or humor.  Egotistical palaver we don’t need.  Maybe Paul McFarland is right.  Maybe we should insist on real names.  We don’t want to do that because we’re in small towns where legitimate opinions could cause unintended consequences, but we’re thinking about it.  For those of you who comment, imagine you are representing your real self.

Several commenters and the newsroom  got a laugh out of an MLPD typo in a bank robbery press release.  It said the Mammoth Branch of the Bank of Robbery was robbed.  With this, the second bank job in a row, some of us thought Bank of Robbery made sense.  One newsroom member said, “How about the Town of Robbery.”  Okay, hopefully there will be no more.

crystalballOne more shake-up of town management?  Rumors swirled that Marysheva-Martinez was likely out and Tom Cage in as manager.  The Bureaucrat Beat Newsroom watches the Town of Mammoth as if gazing into a crystal ball drama.  We hope for the best.  All of us here in the Eastern Sierra depend on each other.  As it goes in Mammoth, so it goes in Bishop and so on.

Finally, the terrible Rim Fire is so big it creates its own weather as reported by Associated Press:  “California fire officials say the fire is so large and is burning with such a force, it has created its own weather pattern, making it difficult to predict which direction it will move. ‘As the smoke column builds up it breaks down and collapses inside of itself, sending downdrafts and gusts that can go in any direction,'” CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant told the Associated Press. “There’s a lot of potential for this one to continue to grow.'”

We hope not.  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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37 Comments
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Norman Olson
Norman Olson
9 years ago

I think some anonymity is well placed for a small community. What I would encourage some posters to do is wait about 3 minutes (“pause”) and then re-read and edit/correct before hitting the final submit button. Some of these entries where the writer gets handcramps or whatever are so unreadable… Read more »

erik simpson
erik simpson
9 years ago

RandyK, Tourbillon and others raise valid arguments in favor of anonymity. So I concede the point, even though very little of what anybody says here (including me) rises anywhere near the level of the Federalist Papers. I also promise to do my best not to lower the tone of discussion.

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
9 years ago
Reply to  erik simpson

Well thanks Erik, and I agree, no Federalist Papers here, or Harry Potter, or Middlemarch. Point is that there is a spectrum of legitimate reasons for writers great and small to use pseudonyms, so let me add one more. In a sparsely populated region, the influence of good ole’ boy… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago
Reply to  erik simpson

I can say with certainty that I have to use a pseudo name because were my generally liberal point of view on the issues of the day to be known to my higher ups at work, I would soon enough be unemployed. It would have nothing to do with me… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago

DT: I think that would be illegal for your employers to do and you could probably make a bunch of money in a law suit if that really did happen. But I know where you are coming from. I’ve seen it first hand. Not a pleasant situation.

RandyK
RandyK
9 years ago

Me thinks editing is good, anonymity good too. As an on-line alter-ego, I am a person too. I may have things to say too that my corporeal self might not want hung around his neck for all time. Discount my opinions if you must, but let me speak. I hereby… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  RandyK

Thank you!
BK

Philip Anaya
Philip Anaya
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

No Bennet Kessler, Thank you and the Sierra Wave for all the news, every day ,this web site and this forum to share and discuss everyday local events and more. You and the Wave are out there, a purpose and an example to aspire to. No unsigned, no incognito, no… Read more »

Define mean-spirited
Define mean-spirited
9 years ago
Reply to  RandyK

The only problem is, that drawing attention to an elected officials mistakes, bias, self-service etc. can be construed as “mean-spirited” or “pointless” to them.
Now what?

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

Pointing out the truth in a civil way is never mean-spirited.
Benett Kessler

Truth v mean-spirited
Truth v mean-spirited
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

It is considered mean-spirited if the truth is directed towards an elected official or high-end administrator. Some posters recently pointed out the flaw and potential problem in an administrator’s choice to live in one county and his immediate family living in another. He and is wife condemned this concern as… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

That definition will be up to the editor. And, you don’t need to make your point multiple times. We get it. Now, lets move on.
BK

Deborah
Deborah
9 years ago

Benett, I totally enjoyed reading this article. I love your “tell it like it is” stance. I remember when you started the Sierra Wave. Just continue on with the way you run your news. I love the comments from your readers. I understand the need to use a pen name.… Read more »

Numbers
Numbers
9 years ago

Perhaps there is a way where so that the Sierra Wave could mark comments that are inappropriate and they would then not show up in the comments section unless you clicked a “show all comments” link. That would eliminate any censorship claims and keep the crap out of the comment… Read more »

Rock Thrower
Rock Thrower
9 years ago

Censorship is just another form of HYPOCRISY ! Very difficult to bight the hand that feeds you. That’s where the real power and control is in many small towns and/or counties. The very reason the greed, corruption and dysfunction continues decade after decade in the “Eastern Sierra and beyond.” I… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago
Reply to  Rock Thrower

I would.
Benett Kessler

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
9 years ago

If the intelligent posts from J and E and others are examples of the kinds of discussions we will get when people use their names — then why wait another day?

Honest Paul
Honest Paul
9 years ago

“Maybe Paul McFarland is right. Maybe we should insist on real names.” HA! Gimme a break. Paul sure likes to ride around on his high horse don’t he? When it comes to honesty, I don’t believe he should be the one pointing the finger. Start by pointing it right at… Read more »

Mongo the Idiot
Mongo the Idiot
9 years ago

Mongo thinks some folks with good info can’t post comments with real names because of the harm that it will cause them; information can be corroborated afterwards without sacrificing the source. Forcing those who post on a public forum to use their real names is a form of censorship; it… Read more »

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
9 years ago

Proof = Billy Tauzin (Former US congressman, lead negotiator in medicare part D (GWBush passed) Billy tauzin collected money (for his campiagn, etc.) from (PHARMA (the big drug companies lobbying firm)) also pharma spent 390 million lobbying congress, so with all that money spent what did we get? or who… Read more »

Mongo the Idiot
Mongo the Idiot
9 years ago

Mongo like Benett on fire. Mongo readership up since BK tell it like it is! Mongo don’t get real news on CBS, NBC, and FAUX (FOX). Mongo say’s “life is for living.” Mongo say’s “the grand parade of commercial packaging is a lie.” Mongo think the blog a good clearing… Read more »

erik simpson
erik simpson
9 years ago

I’ll second the idea of real names. If what you have to say is so stupid/inflammatory/pointless that it would embarrass you to sign it, I don’t want to hear it. I think such a policy would encourage people to think a little longer about what they have to say. Do… Read more »

Just like Watergate
Just like Watergate
9 years ago
Reply to  erik simpson

Erik – You must have forgotten the whistle-blower during the Nixon Watergate days (the most corrupt in our nation’s history) who called himself “deep throat” rather than disclose his/her real name. Why would a person put him/her self on the line and risk getting fired or blacklisted? Politics (especially the… Read more »

erik simpson
erik simpson
9 years ago

What sort of ‘deep truths’ do you have to tell that might get you fired or blacklisted? Do you really believe Mark Felt (Watergate’s deep throat) would have revealed what he knew on a forum such as this? And if he had, who would have believed him?

Trouble
Trouble
9 years ago
Reply to  erik simpson

Totally disagree Erik. I believe my freedom to say what I really believe here, without fear of public humiliation , is one of the greatest benefits of this blogging generation. Especially in such a small town with big mouths!

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
9 years ago
Reply to  Trouble

Yeah I hear that Trouble, I put it in the back burner because I want to be taken seriously.. especially when I throw Wolf-PAC out there..
Your right about the small town and big mouths!
Keep practicing your right’s!

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
9 years ago
Reply to  erik simpson

Erik, the forceful editorials (now called “The Federalist Papers”) that turned public opinion toward ratification of the U.S. Constitution were written under the pseudonym “Publius”. This was just after the War of Independence so British retaliation was not a concern. Turns out that “Publius” was a combination of some of… Read more »

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
9 years ago

Actually.. It doesn’t matter.. Big money is playing us all! http://www.Wolf-PAC.com “Our legislators have failed to pass bills that would stop this. They get big bucks from the same guys.” Wolf-PAC is a volunteer base group that seeks free and fair elections that are funded publicly, NOT privately! they seek… Read more »

Wayne Deja
Wayne Deja
9 years ago
Reply to  JeremiahJoseph

Jeremiah…….You sound angry …

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
9 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Deja

But Wayne, we lost our democracy on the national level, Yes that does make me angry! It makes me angry because I would like to feel a lil better about my kids future, I can go on and on about how my kids future is affected by the decisions made… Read more »

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
9 years ago

Might want to rethink the idea of censoring the public comments. If someone posts an idea that is off the hinge and it is deleted by the moderator, it tends to feed the idea of something bigger trying to put them down. Better to let the extreme views be voiced… Read more »

Benett Kessler
Benett Kessler
9 years ago

I will edit out mean-spirited and pointless comments.
Benett Kessler

Mark
Mark
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

I wouldn’t want to be the judge of that but I suppose it comes with the job.

If Tom Cage becomes manager TOML just went in a full circle and are right back where they started before MMM.

I’d love to hear 3M’s personal opinion on this…

Bemused
Bemused
9 years ago
Reply to  Mark

I’d say back to the late 1990’s actually Mark…

Tourbillon
Tourbillon
9 years ago
Reply to  Benett Kessler

Yes quite right Benett. New leaf, and all that. Although in a way I suppose I’m going to miss those Rush-obsessed diatribes brimming with instability, in the same perverse way that one might miss macabre horror films after they’ve been banned. Entertaining, you know, if in a tweaked sort of… Read more »

Sick of the caustic style
Sick of the caustic style
9 years ago
Reply to  Tourbillon

I agree, Tourbillon.
Everybody is sick and tired of the nastiness of Limbaughism.
But look what that type has accomplished.
The word Liberal today is viewed by some as Anti-American, Communist,
and likened to The Devil.

JeremiahJoseph
JeremiahJoseph
9 years ago

Good Point DT! When I have the time to give my piece of mind I will, I am over the whole “Pin Name” theme as well, this is how I feel, anybody that feels the need to “discharge me” for what I feel, so be it! But I can’t wait… Read more »