June 04, 2014 - This column is a little late getting out of the hopper. About two months late. Which can mean one of two things.
1. It's really gonna' be a gem -- something well worth the wait because I've thought about it so much, or;
2. It's really going to suck and be a total waste of time, because it is so outdated.
That said, I believe it was in April when there was national outrage over Government Motors' (GM, to the folks in this neck of the woods) lack of action when it came to replacing faulty ignition switches in some of their vehicles. Sadly, at least 13 people across the nation died as a result of GM's non-action.
Sad, yes. But, the ranker and disrespect, the manufactured outrage by those in Congress towards General Motors new head dude, Mary Barra was disheartening. Why is it that whenever a Congressman or woman gets to be on a grilling committee (in front of cameras) they become condescending, arrogant, self-aggrandizing jerkoffs to whomever has been subpoenaed to sit before them?
At the least it is disrespectful.
At the most it is a true representation of the quality of people we have representing us in Washington, DC. Lord above, what have we done? What monsters have we created?
Is it an election year? Are the electeds on that committee up for reelection? Do they need to "boost" their image back home?
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Maybe it is a sign of my aging and the fact I need to double my dosage of that brain stimulating supplement, derived from fish oil, what's it called? Omega 3, yeah, that's it. But, I do not remember the outrage, the pure venom spewing from Congressional mouths when the giant phamaceutical company Merck was going through its Vioxx "situation."
Yes, there were hearings, and yes they have paid out $5 billion in damages . . . but, I don't remember a bigger outrage then as compared to the recent GM outrage. Oh, if you don't remember, before Merck had to pull Vioxx off the shelves, in America alone, 60,000 people died and upwards to 140,000 people suffered heart attacks or strokes because they took the pills.
Sixty thousand dead because a company went against its own tests, and duped (aka marketed) people into taking their drug. And, get this, the folks who are 'sposed to protect us from "bad" drugs, the US Food and Drug Administration, ignored the testing results, too. Where was that outrage?
Let's compare and contrast that to the 13 dead (heck, let's multiply that by 10 and say 130 people died) because of GM's burying their head in the sand about faulty ignition switches. Do you know there are 254 million registered cars in America? And, there are 1.3 people for every car in America?
If GM only made 1 million cars and off that number 130 cars were defective, your percentage of defects would be way less than one percent bad (130 divided by 1,000,000 = .00013).
I also find it quite convenient the US government sold off the last of its ownership stocks right before notice of the ignition problems came to light. Can anybody say, "Insider trading?"
I thought the practice of an individual, or group profiting from trades based on inside information was illegal -- as it's "unfair" to everybody else who doesn't have the same intel. So, it's okay if the US government does it, just so long as John Q Public doesn't?
I am not trying to claim GM is as pure as the driven snow and doesn't need to fix the problem, and fast. I am just saying the proportion of outrage doesn't jive in my addled brain. (Where's my fish-oil pill?) What I am saying is Congress folk can be upset, but save the artificially produced outrage for when it's really needed.
Parents of all stripes and types figure this concept out pretty quick (well, they oughta). If you go ape-crazy over every infraction your child makes growing up they soon tune out your screams of displeasure. You need to save up your "outrage" for when you need it, because when you finally do play that card, it gets their attention. It packs a punch. It sends the message you're not fooling around. By picking and choosing your battles your kids grow into adulthood more apt to handle lives downs as well as ups.
Why doesn't Congress know that?
So, readers o'mine. Was the column worth it, a gem of an opinion or was it a piece of trash, worthy only to line your bird cage or wrap fish guts? Your call. Let me know with an e-mail. Send your thoughts to me, Don@ShermanPublications.org.
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: email@example.com