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By Neil Johnson
We live in a very PC country. We live in a country where marketing and spin permeate science, government and the media. For example, friendly fire; sounds innocent, huh? That's being shot by your own military. I love sortie; that's when you bomb the crap out of a country. It's not war, it's not even an act of aggression. Police actions, that's an old one; just a different way of saying military action, which I'm sure the receiving end one might as the term war.
Ring, ring ... ring, ring.... Excuse me just a moment. "Hello." "Pittsfield?" "Yes I know where Pittsfield is, about 35 minutes south of here on Route 100." "You say you still haven't torn down homes this summer because you haven't received flood money?" "I know, I know, no I'm not taking your flood money." "Yes I'll vote no (on the town offices) this time too. Sorry things are taking so long for you. Yup, talk with you soon, bye."
Ring, ring ... ring, ring.... Excuse me again, "Hello." "Governor Christie?" "No, I didn't see last week's TV interview." "You're still getting bodies out of homes from Superstorm Sandy last year? No I didn't know that." "Yes, yes, I don't know what to say about the president not having enough funds to help you out." "No I'm sure you could use an extra $650,000. No, I'm not using funds frivolously.... Yes, I'll vote no this time so flood money will be available for those who really need it. Sorry for all that you guys are going through. Yes, yes, Take care, governor."
Ring, ring ... ring, ring.... Sorry, I'll put the phone on call forwarding after this. "Hello." "Mr. President?" "You're having trouble balancing our budget?" "Yes, I've heard about that. But how can I help?" "Oh, you've found out that grants are part of our problem? Oh there aren't any checks and balances, it's first come first served?" "Yes, I know, Governor Christie called, asked me to vote no too." "You're having problems funding for Colorado, too?" "Yes, I know, the system is broken." "Oh, Mr. President, our town governments never had a budget balancing problem, when it was our own money we did well. It wasn't until they took local control away that we had problems, you know unfunded mandates, etc., perhaps we could go back to that?" "Oh, OK, I understand, you have very bright people in Washington." "Good luck on the budget, thanks for all your work. Bye."
Sorry, let me put this phone on call forwarding. So where was I, words and political correctness. So we had a "gift" given to us at the end of September, but what is a gift? Santa Claus gives gifts. You might give a loved one a gift at Valentine's Day, a birthday, an anniversary. I've heard a John can give a gift (not money) to a Doe, and he's a Sugar Daddy and she's a sugar mama. Interesting, huh? If they exchange cash, it goes by the name of the other oldest profession. Bribes are gifts. Kickbacks are gifts, so yes we did receive a "gift." Personally, I would have used a different word to describe the money, that was accepted, in executive session, unanimously by the town select board.
Neil Johnson lives in Waitsfield.