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...