Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Boneheads like us who still don't get the China trip

Following the golden rule -- if it makes you laugh out loud, it's blogworthy -- an article in this morning's D-News proved irresistible. The headline? "Lawmakers, others say critics of China trip are 'boneheads'". The text, with our notes, follows:

Critical of a recent trip to China by some Utah lawmakers? Those who felt the need to write letters to newspaper editors about it were described as "boneheads" on Tuesday. During a meeting of the Legislature's Utah International Trade Commission, the group's co-chairman, Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Lehi, acknowledged that he did not read newspapers, "so I don't know what they're saying. ... It sounds like they're pretty bonehead-type stuff."
One can only imagine the chutzpah it takes for a man who says he doesn't read newspapers to call someone else a bonehead.

Madsen and other commission members were talking about criticism of the eight-day, relationship-building trip taken by 13 legislators and two staffers — a venture costing $36,000.
$36,000 of taxpayer money, just to be clear. The term "relationship-building" is a good one, though. "Honey, I'll be down at Squatters building relationships. Don't wait up."

Lew Cramer, chief executive officer of the World Trade Center Utah, said he would be happy to discuss the trip's value with lawmakers' constituents. "Some of the letters to the editor, I thought, you, writing and complaining about this trip, you ought to send back your high school diploma because you didn't earn it," Cramer told the commission. "Whatever you learned in civics, you didn't deserve to keep it, because these letters are so basically naive about the kind of world that we live in today."
I don't know if "naive" is the right word. They did, after all, call b.s. on this little field trip.

Memo to Accounting Department: I do not understand the delay in reimbursement of my Squatters expenses. I would think that anyone who actually earned a high school diploma would understand the concept of 'relationship-building'.

Rep. Kerry Gibson, R-Ogden, said he has "a hard time responding to some of the questions and some of the criticisms, especially because it's so difficult to put a dollar value on an experience like this."
A hard time responding, huh? Gosh, what could be the reason for that? What could it be...?

2nd Memo to Accounting Department: I am having a hard time responding to some of your questions and criticisms about my business development efforts at Squatters. Do you know how difficult it is to put a dollar value on an experience like that? I want my $435.

"I think as we discuss this it becomes easier to do that, at least to justify. But to those who want to be critical and, for whatever reason, won't look at the larger picture, how do we help them understand the monetary return?" Gibson asked.
3rd Memo to Accounting Department: Obviously, someone down there in the black hole that is Accounting is unable to see the larger picture here. I can guarantee you that everyone who was in Squatters that evening now knows me. I'm sorry if you cannot understand the monetary return of such interaction with other cultures.
Cramer said the money spent on the trip was "the best money we spent this year in the state."
And that is the scariest statement made this year in the state.

He later said Utah has many elements in place to be at the forefront in fostering international trade. "We should lead the world in this. There's just no reason why we shouldn't, boneheads aside," Cramer said.
Heck, yeah. When one thinks of major players in fostering international trade, who doesn't think of Utah? When President Bush denied Chinese president Hu Jintao the honor of a formal state dinner last year, hurt feelings were no doubt assuaged by the promise of a visit soon by Utah state legislators. It's exciting that our legislators are jumping on this China thing before the rest of the U.S. figures out that it has, like, a really big economy.

"But we'll work with them. I'm inclined to call some of them up and have a little one-on-one chat and explain to them how this world is working."
E-mail will suffice: VoiceOfUtah@yahoo.com

Cramer insisted it would be helpful to have some legislators on an upcoming trade mission to India.
AAAAARRRRGHHHH! The Junketeers strike again!


He took offense to a description of the China trip as a "junket"--
Oops.

--and noted that forging international relationships takes time, usually with tangible results being difficult to quantify.
4th Memo to Accounting Department: It is becoming increasingly obvious that only I have the vision that is needed to forge relationships between this company and the wide range of potential customers that frequent Squatters. True, I did not return with any contracts or the name and address of likely clients; what's your point? You say "no tangible results," I say tomato. I guess the only way to bore a hole through that bone head of yours is to pull out the big guns. Holier-than-thou accounting department, prepare for a little one-on-one chat with Lew Cramer, chief executive officer of the World Trade Center Utah...

10 comments:

JM Bell said...

So: do you figure they visited America's steel industry while they were in China?

Maybe they spent a few minutes catching up with America's long lost manufacturing jobs?

Do you think that they had brunch with America's textile industry while in China?

There's a lot things to see in China for a homesick American.

Voice of Utah said...

They should be careful--who says legislators can't be outsourced? Just think, if they were, that would have saved us $36,000.

Misty Fowler said...

Now I feel the need to get a new bumper sticker, this one says "Bonehead", to go right next to my "Nutcake" one. Our politicians need to quit calling us names, or I'll run out of room on my bumper!

Anonymous said...

Oh that's why these same legislators are in love with vouchers! There is no accountability with taxpayers' money! They don't have to prove anything tangible like student achievement, now it makes sense.

steve u. said...

Hey, you know, I can't even READ the newspapers (though I do like looking at the funnies), and I still think y'all are all a bunch of boneheads. Especially you, 10:27 anonymous; just for that comment, no smiley face emoticon.

derekstaff said...

You know, you couldn't put a dollar value on the experience I would have on a trip to Italy. With my wife. About a month ought to do it. Anyone want to sponsor me?

Voice of Utah said...

Ouch, Steve--the No Emoticon Maneuver! Meanie. :-) (I gave you one anyway.)

Frank Staheli said...

I'm not getting it either. $36,000 is not THAT much money when compared to the entire budget, but it's an incorrect usage of tax dollars. What did they expect to accomplish besides all that sight-seeing?

I'm not sure how government officials think they should be undertaking such forays. This would be something for business people to do--I guess I must be missing something. I served on a City Council and I found it very easy--until I thought about it--to let people wine me and dine me and butter me up. When I realized what it was accomplishing, I stopped doing it.

These are the kinds of junkets that make part-time legislators decide that they could deign to sacrifice themselves in order to be our leaders for life.

I could have garnered some pretty interesting insights about China, too (so why didn't they ask me to go?), but then again I can read books as well as the newspaper.

I actually expected better of Mark Madsen: (1) I thought he better understood the proper role of government, and (2) I'm surprised he make a wisecrack like that. I suspect he's feeling a little guilty...?

At any rate, count me a member of the bonehead club.

feild trip said...

lets all stay in the closet and put our head in the sand?

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