The X Files
By Xavier Hermosillo
I recently came across an essay by Tom Ehrich, an Episcopal
minister from Durham, N.C. The essay appeared in the Winston-Salem
Journal, Oct. 3, 2004, just a month before the last presidential
What he wrote had to do with national politics, but it could
apply to all levels of politics as well.
Despairing of politics in the 21st century, he said this:
"Incompetence has been the rule. Catering to the super-rich
has been the rule. Appealing to base emotions has been the
rule. Hiding true intentions has been the rule. Maneuvering
behind the scenes to claim the spoils and to impose ideology
as a substitute for effective governance has been the rule."
And idiocy also appears to be the rule when we examine a few
very recent examples of how out of touch and out of control
over government has become. Did you hear the one about the
U.S. soldier who was wounded overseas and when he came home,
the government sent him a bill for damaging government property?
That damaged property turned out to be the bullet-poof vest
that saved his life but WAS damaged by terrorist bullets.
The GALL of some government idiot-crat sending a brave member
of our military a bill for having a piece of issued equipment
do its job.
Then we have last week's story out of the White House where
President Bush revealed that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the reputed
mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, began planning a West
Coast operation less than a month after the New York attacks
in October 2001. The target was apparently Los Angeles and
yet, it took four years for L.A. officials to be told? Please!
Look, I'm a huge Bush supporter, but a government screw-up
is a government screw-up, regardless of whether a Democrat
or a Republican is at fault.
As the plot was described, the hijackers were to use shoe
bombs to blow open the cockpit door of a commercial jetliner,
take control of the plane and crash it into the Library Tower
at Figueroa and 5th streets in Los Angeles, a 73-story building
since renamed the US Bank Tower. In his remarks, Bush inadvertently
referred to the site as "Liberty Tower."
Are you telling me that L.A. police an fire officials have
never been told about the plot and the especially cogent parts,
that rather than use Arab hijackers as he had on Sept. 11,
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed sought out young men from Southeast
Asia - whom he believed would not arouse as much suspicion.
Yeah, in L.A., the melting pot of America, we were all looking
out for Saudis and others of Middle East persuasion. It would
have been nice to keep an eye on Southeast Asian-looking suspects
who could be acting as al-Qaida operatives.
Next government blunder, this one involving our education
system: An 11-year-old girl in West Covina, Calif., has been
suspended from school for doing "dangerous" cartwheels
and hand stands during lunch time. At a time when we're seeing
more and more stories about the growing epidemic of obesity
among kids, this story seems beyond belief to me.
Deirdre Faegre, a Student of the Month at San Jose-Edison
Academy in West Covina, was dismissed from the school last
week after school authorities warned her to stop doing gymnastic
stunts during lunchtime. Administrators said they were concerned
about the safety of their students and that gymnastics on
the playground creates an unsafe situation.
And now the capper. If you buy a product and dump the paper
wrapping or other parts of it on the ground, who is at fault
for littering? You or the company who made the product you
Well, if you're in the government in the People's Republic
of Oakland, Calif., the answer is easy.
Apparently fed up with burger wrappers, French fry containers
and paper cups, Oakland is the first city in the nation to
force fast-food restaurants, convenience stores and other
businesses to help pay for cleaning up street trash.
Under a tax approved by the City Council, businesses will
be assessed between $230 and $3,815 annually, depending on
their size. More than three-quarters of the affected businesses
would only pay the minimum fee, which amounts to 63 cents
a day. Councilwoman Jane Brunner, who proposed the measure,
says she doesn't think that's too much to ask so neighbors
don't have to keep picking up trash "from their doorways".
Now, the operative words here are "Councilwoman Jane
.. says she doesn't think
What lunacy! Businesses say the city should educate the public
and enforce littering laws. Some say they already pay employees
to pick up trash in their neighborhoods. But of course, that's
not good enough for our incompetent politicians. Let's turn
this issue into ANOTHER government bureaucracy. Oakland says
it will use the projected $237,000 a year to hire small crews
to pick up litter in commercial areas around high schools
and middle schools where most of the garbage is found.
The fee was opposed by the Metropolitan Oakland Chamber of
Commerce and business organizations that say the costs will
be passed along to customers, including low-income residents
and young people who are the biggest consumers of fast food.
Oakland officials say litter from fast-food restaurants has
become a major problem in communities nationwide. There is
a recent survey that shows that fast-food packaging makes
up about 20 percent of all litter, with packaging for chip
bags, drink containers, candy wrappers and other snacks comprising
another 20 percent.
But the bottom line has to be about responsibility and making
sure that he or she who litters should be made to pay for
their transgression. Fining drive-through restaurants for
their customers litter is like fining car manufacturers for
car accidents caused by drivers who run red lights or drive
Look at it this way: We pay a princely sum for king size
incompetent government that caters to the rich and powerful,
yet is constantly trying to convince us that government knows
what is best for us, even when it's clear government has become
our worst enemy.