Human stains

A famous psychiatrist once said that the oddest thing about living a productive life is that we have to act as if the uni-verse makes sense even when we suspect it might not.

Now we can argue until the cows come home (that's in the eve-ning, for you folks who've never seen a beauty of the bovine persuasion outside of a plastic-wrapped package at Larry's) about whether God has a plan, or even if there is a God, and if there is, what's His or Her "True Name."

But I don't think there can be any argument about the fact that we humans, the species Dr. Swift of "Gulliver's Travels" fame called "the most pernicious to crawl upon the earth," generally make little or no sense at all.

Before you utter a yelp of dis-agreement, consider the following factoids, collected in the past month by simply reading two local newspapers and one national daily.

* A Kalispell, Mont., community pillar named Richard Dasen won "The Great Chief" award, the Kalispell's Chamber of Commerce's highest honor. Dasen was a big mover and shaker when he wasn't running his finance company. It turns out, according to police and court documents, that when the paleface great Business Chief wasn't working or community-improving, he was sleeping with young Kalispell-area women who came to his firm seeking pay advances. Dasen, 62, allegedly admitted to police he has spent approximately $5 million dollars on sexual activity over his Chiefdom. Dasen told police there were too many women "to count" when asked for a total.

The city attorney said Dasen did one more thing for local business than he had ever been credited with previously. By throwing checks (he paid by check) around to the generally unemployed and underemployed, DasenĀ "pretty much single-handedly funded the methamphetamine trade here in Kalispell for a number of years," Charles Harball said.

Now that's a big chief.

* Corporations are often chastised for their lack of loyalty to longtime, lower-echelon employees (see Enron, etc.), but you can't say corporations treat their CEOs too badly.

Let's look at the case of Portland's Fog Cutter Capital Group. Their chief executive officer, Andrew Wiederhorn, was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to a pair of felonies connected to the financial collapse of a company that loaned him $160 million.

Wiederhorn is getting paid behind bars after he threatened to sue Fog Cutter, and lo and behold, their board voted last month to pay their big chief $2.5 million while he is in prison!

Fog Cutter said they weren't keeping Wiederhorn to avoid a lawsuit but because his skills were "crucial." I love living in a country where justice is done. I just wish the lady with the scales would quit peeking to see how much money defendants have before she makes these decisions.

* I grew up under the watchful eye of a very Roman Catholic Irish mother. So some recent events within the church I left at 16 have piqued my interest quite a bit. And I'm allowed to talk about it because I was once one of 'em, a former altar boy, ya dig?

No, I am not picking on all those poor priests who "picked on" squadrons of altar boys over the years. Instead, I want to bring to your attention the case of Haley Waldman, an 8-year-old New Jersey girl.

Seems Haley, who has a digestive disorder which doesn't allow her to eat wheat, nevertheless wanted (quite naturally - peer pressure, you know) to make her first Holy Communion with the rest of her class. She was accommodated. Her communion wafer didn't contain wheat.

But it seems the old men who run the Diocese of Trenton objected. According to the bishops, Roman Catholic doctrine demands wheat as a chief ingredient (some sweetheart deal with a former altar boy who owns a wheat farm?). Little Haley's First Holy Communion was wholly invalidated because of her special lite wafer.

Haley's mother is appealing to the Vatican for spiritual (and dietary) relief for her daughter. Good luck with the current Pope, who seems, borrowing the lingo of the younger folks, to go pretty medieval in his social views.

* And here at home we show every day that our leaders can be as "creative" as anywhere else in the country. For example, internal state documents have been discovered that show Washington state has made an organized effort to kick families off welfare. State officials denied this claim initially when it came to light.

According to the Associated Press, the Department of Social and Health Services used parties and contests as incentives for workers to reduce welfare caseloads last spring. Immediately after this news broke, Gov. Locke's spin minions went to work, but the discovered documents showed a lighthearted approach to cutting the rolls. According to the Welfare Rights Organizing Coalition, one DSHS office even rang a bell each time a worker terminated a welfare case.

After this story surfaced, there was a backlash from some commentators and letter-to-the-editor writers whose position basically seemed to be: everyone on welfare is a freeloader anyway.

If I live to be 100, I'll never understand why citizens and our political bosses have hissy fits when some poor person gets a tiny bit of help, but don't raise their voices at all when the Big Chiefs are caught stealing with both hands, and even get paid while incarcerated.

I enjoy my little life, but there's a growing part of me that is slipping and sliding over toward the Dr. Swift position. If I could bring the good, bitter doctor (of divinity) back from the dead for one night, I'd get him a jug of claret and sit him in front of the tube to watch some reality television. Imagine what he'd think of us after catching "Survivor," "The Apprentice" and a taste of "Amish in the City"!

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