Whenever I see a story about some stupid criminal I find myself wishing I could be alone in a room with the poor sap just so I could ask him three questions:
• What was your thought process?
• Did you think this through to its logical conclusion?
• Did you ever, at any point in time, think this would end well for you?
That’s all. Just those three questions.
Until now, I had always limited this wish to stupid criminals:
• Like the guy who pulls up at the drive-through window of a bank and slips a note in it saying “This is a holdup.” The teller, pulls the drawer in, reads the note, flips it over and writes on the back, “I don’t see a gun,” and sends note back to the guy who obligingly puts his gun in the drawer and sends it in to the teller;
• Like the guy who writes his holdup note on any piece of paper with his name and address on it or who is wearing a work uniform with his name tag fully visible;
• Like the guy who tries to outrun police on the interstate;
• Like any idiot who tries to resist a half-dozen police officers;
You get the picture.
But now I have expanded my sentiments to wishing I could pose the same question to some of our bumbling state politicians—particularly our self-promoting, egocentric, ambitious, absentee governor who insists—with a straight face, no less—that he has the job he wants even as he ignores a multitude of problems at home while auditioning for any job that will promote his shameless career goals.
But there are others:
• Any legislator (like Noble Ellington or Jane Smith) who runs for office on the promise of looking out for the folks back home but then accepts a six-figure salary in some department for which he or she has zero qualifications. What were you thinking?
• Any agency head (like Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink) who sends out an email saying there will be no merit raises for employees because of budgetary constraints while almost simultaneously approving a 41 percent increase for a single employee. What were you thinking?
• Any agency head (like Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein) who would attempt to withhold the name of the winner of a $300 million contract with DHH from a legislative committee charged with confirming his appointment as secretary. What were you thinking?
• Any agency head (like Department of Natural Resources Secretary Scott Angelle) who would resign in the middle of a major crisis involving a potentially toxic sinkhole in order to selfishly run for a public office that he thinks will set him up for a run for governor in 2015? What were you thinking?
• Any agency head (like Alcohol and Tobacco Control Office Commissioner Troy Hebert) who would send a uniformed agent to inspect bars where she had recently worked undercover and purchased drugs from dealers. What were you thinking?
• Any agency head (like Superintendent of Education John White) who, on the night before he was to testify before a legislative committee about the New Living Word school in Ruston, sent emails to the governor’s office that he would try to “take some air out of the room” and to “muddy up” the narrative over the his approval of 315 vouchers for the school that had no classrooms, no desks and no teachers. What were you thinking?
• Any agency head (like White) who, within a matter of a few weeks, would hire a $144,000 part-time public relations officer from Florida and a consultant from Los Angeles to serve as a shill for the Department of Education’s (DOE) computer Course Content at a salary of $146,000—both of whom are allowed to commute and/or work from their homes. What were you thinking?
• Any agency head who, while giving no merit increases for three years and while even laying off rank and file employees, continues to give healthy salary increases to employees already earning in excess of $100,000 per year. What were you thinking?
• Any legislator who sees nothing wrong with private Christian schools receiving vouchers but who goes ballistic when it is learned that an Islamic school applied for vouchers under the same program. What were you thinking?
• Any governor who, while busy traveling all over the country promoting his aspirations for a cabinet position should Mitt Romney be elected president, approves closures of and budgetary cutbacks for state hospitals where cutbacks and closures result in the loss of treatment availability for indigent citizens. What were you thinking?
• Any governor who, while spewing outright lies in his many out-of-state visits about how he has the most ethical, most transparent and accountable administration in the country, continues to hide his office behind a veil of secrecy, refusing to provide public records or to grant media interviews. What were you thinking?
• Any inaccessible, unreachable, unavailable, unaccountable governor who, in an attempt to further shroud public agencies from having to answer directly to Louisiana citizens, attempts to force disputes with state agencies to be handled via telephone hearings instead of face-to-face hearings. What were you thinking?
• Any legislator who allows this governor and these bureaucrats to snub their collective noses at the citizens of this state with their arrogant actions and their attitude of defiance and mockery.
• Any citizen of Louisiana who would rather watch Dancing with the Stars than hold these sorry excuses for public servants accountable.
What the hell are any of you thinking?