My friends, I want you to know that I almost temporarily suspended this column in order to focus on the bailout bill, which is still up in the air as I type this. I thought it would show leadership to delay the column until a bipartisan deal was worked out, but then I realized two crucial things: One, columnists should be able to deal with more than one thing at a time; and two, I wouldn't be paid for doing nothing. So ... welcome to a fresh, new column! With apologies to Bill Maher and his HBO program's signature feature, here are some new rules for the Q.C.:
New rule: From now on, sanitation workers have to take ALL the garbage.
What's up with garbage men leaving your street looking worse than it did before they came? I don't know about your neighborhood, but on the afternoon of pickup day, my street often looks like a friggin' hurricane just hit. Yard debris? They probably get 90 to 95 percent of it, but, believe me, that still leaves a big load of sticks and crap just lying all up and down the road. Your tax dollars at work, dear readers. And would it be possible to not strew random cardboard or flattened detergent jugs or empty bottles from the recycling bins all over the place? Guys, it's a sanitation job, not a damned littering contest.
New rule: Anyone whose actions threaten to collapse the world economy must go to jail.
As I'm writing this, a deal is being worked out in Washington to bail out the greedy jerks who've driven the national economy to the brink of disaster. Hey, D.C. geniuses! How about after you've finished negotiating your deal, you throw the SOB's responsible for this mess in prison for, oh let's say, 30 years? If someone can be sent to prison for scamming old people out of their savings, surely ripping off the entire nation for a cool trillion bucks is grounds for a hefty stretch in stir, not to mention a few close encounters of the prison shower kind. Oh, what's that? What these sleazebags did wasn't strictly "illegal"? Because it was Congress' deregulation of financial services that gave the vultures the go-ahead? OK, then, how about putting whoever came up with the deregulation bills, or helped ram them through Congress, in jail along with the corporate crooks? Just one problem, though: the GOP would have to find another presidential candidate, and Arctic Barbie's waiting in the wings.
New rule: When you suck at your job, you don't get a big raise and votes of confidence.
Just two weeks after receiving the award for being the city's "Biggest Disappointment" in CL's "Best of Charlotte" issue, School Superintendent Peter Gorman received an $18,200 bonus, a $7,150 raise, and a one-year contract extension from the School Board. Who says this paper doesn't have pull? Can anyone name one person other than demented School Board members, or maybe Gorman's family, who honestly thinks our schools have been on the right track since Gorman came to town? Dropouts by the hundreds, grossly overworked and underpaid teachers, middle schoolers who can barely read, and a bloated downtown administration that routinely pisses off everybody unfortunate enough to come in contact with them: all problems when Gorman arrived, and still problems two years later. Oh, I forgot -- he's cutting "administrative costs" by getting rid of a slew of school librarians, and we may be getting rid of some of our successful magnet school programs. Un. Be. Lievable. And now a raise. No wonder Gorman asked for the authority to assign security staff to himself and his family.
New rule: It's perfectly OK to siphon gasoline out of Hummers.
Gas is getting hard to find, and prices are shooting through the roof. The planet is choking on fumes, and arctic ice is melting. People are cutting back on expenses, including their vacations. In view of all that, what possible justification can there be for someone riding around anymore in one of those hideous Dickmobiles? Times are tough, people. I say that the next time you see one of these behemoths in a parking lot, feel free to get the hose out of your car trunk, pucker up, and say hello to a week's worth of gas! They won't even miss it. Come to think of it, why wait until they're parked? Sitting at a stoplight next to a Hummer? It's the perfect time for Guerilla Siphoning -- be sure you get it all, though, or they might run your car over once the light turns green.
Now get to work! Before you know it, the rest of us will have plenty of gas, and abandoned Hummers with rubber tubes hanging out of their gas tanks will be parked all over town.