Ruth: All this outrage has tuckered me out (w/video)

 New York Times
New York Times
Published October 3 2014
Updated October 4 2014

It's not easy being suitably outraged. More pointedly, I'm tuckered out from all this indignation.

Over the past few days I had worked up a fairly rolling boil after discovering the U.S. Secret Service had turned into the "Stay here and guard the prince" scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Sure, protecting the president and the White House is not without its challenges.

But the most intensely guarded building in the world — with attack dogs, rooftop snipers, scores of heavily armed officers and a huge fence around it — could not prevent an intruder making it all the way to the East Room of the White House? You know there is a problem when it's harder to get past security at Helloooo Sucker Stadium for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game than into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

However, the full head of steam over the Secret Service as Deputy Dawg had to make room for the $94,360 MacDill Air Force Base spent to build a special stage for President Barack Obama to deliver a few remarks no one remembers during a recent visit to Tampa. For all the ceremonial saluting, change-of-command rituals and other events requiring very important people uttering very important huffing and puffing one would think MacDill would have a spare dais or two for the commander in chief to say whatever it was he said.

Or consider that Obama spoke for 18 minutes, which comes out to $5,242.22 per minute in construction costs. For that kind of money we ought to have gotten at least a Shakespearean soliloquy.

Just as I was getting good and riled up over dropping $94,360 for a stage when the money might have been spent to hire some extra German shepherds to guard the White House, there was state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-I'm Getting Verrrry Verrrry Angry, announcing he had just discovered Duke Energy might just be a pinch on the greedy side.

Duke has been grifting its 1.7 million customers to the tune of $3.2 billion in nuclear recovery fees for a nuclear power plant it will never built and to repair a nuke plant it was responsible for rendering inoperable.

Latvala, who always has been something of a Mr. Dithers of the Florida Legislature, announced he was fed up with Duke and proposed new regulations governing the billing of ratepayers, requiring anyone who schmoozes the Public Service Commission to register as a lobbyist and other consumer protections.

But what really almost made my head explode was Latvala's admission he had deferred to the Fagins at Duke, trusting the company to be a good corporate citizen. This had to be a bit like having faith the tax-exempt National Football League will do the morally right thing and begin paying its fair share.

Who would have ever guessed the curmudgeonly Latvala was actually more naive than Howdy Doody? Really? After Duke's $3.2 billion worth of vigorish imposed on its victims, it finally dawned on Latvala that the company just might not have the best interests of its customers at heart?

I was getting plenty peeved until Hillsborough County school superintendent MaryEllen Elia appeared before the Florida Board of Education to take note that school districts across the state are ill-prepared to administer a rash of state-mandated tests. Elia cited numerous problems, including students lacking computer skills to write online essays, and noted the new exams designed to replace the dreaded FCAT have never been subjected to field-testing — all reasonable concerns.

Instead Elia was told to buzz off, that there was nothing Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart could do to help. In a classic case of buck-passing, Stewart said she was powerless, helpless and hapless to ease the testing burden since only those eagles of enlightenment in the Florida Legislature could solve the glitches in the new system. Piffle.

What exactly is the point in having a state education commissioner if the occupant of the post has less authority to act than a medieval serf?

But before I could fully crawl into a fetal position, there was Largo City Commissioner Curtis Holmes, who insisted he had been clueless that the creepy, salacious, Islamophobic material he had downloaded onto his city-owned iPad so he could send the tawdry images to his personal email account would be automatically routed through the city — behavior that would have resulted in automatic dismissal for a city employee.

Just as I working up a goodly measure of outrage over the X-rated troll of Largo, a number of Holmes' history-challenged defenders argued he was a victim of socialism, totalitarianism and McCarthyism.

Oh, never mind. I'm too pooped.

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