The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

January 20, 2010
Letter from the Devil to Pat Robertson
Haiti Pat Robertson.jpgFor pundits and commentators, Pat Robertson is the gift that keeps on giving.

His bone-headed comment that Haiti's earthquake was the result of a "pact to the devil" continues to spark inspired retorts.

Here's a mock "Letter from the Devil to Pat Robertson" that the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently published from a reader.

Dear Pat Robertson,

I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action.

But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake.

Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"? If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll. You're doing great work, Pat....

To read the rest of this letter, go here. 
January 19, 2010
BOE ('Building of Evil') is more spooky than column suggested
My column on Sunday jested that the state hire an exorcist to rid the defective Board of Equalization building of its demons. That brought this response from one former BOE employee, who managed to survive years of leaks, mold, falling windows, etc.

I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. Plus before BOE had better security, an irate taxpayer managed to get into the building and make his way to the 14th floor with a gun and terrify people...Some people never got over that and never came back to work.
Further evidence the building is haunted.

In my column, I noted that it's not unprecedented for exorcists to work on buildings, sometimes providing pro bono services. An example is the Hampton Lillibridge house in Savannah, where a bishop was called into rid the old mansion of ghosts. That brought this response from another faithful reader:

There could be a problem with exorcists doing "pro bono" work.  It may be the reason that the exorcism at the Hampton Lillibridge house was a failure.  It was done by an Episcopalian bishop "pro bono" (no charge). That's what happens when you don't pay the exorcist: You get re-possessed.

January 12, 2010
Good news, bad news and toxic news at the ports
Good news: Cargo moving through the state's two big ports in Southern California was higher in December than the same month a year ago. That's the first such jump in 28 months, the Los Angeles Times reports today, and it suggests an economic recovery is underway.

Bad news: It's a hardly cause for celebration if California's recovery hinges on massive shipments of cheap goods from China to U.S. retailers. During the boom, the state's dependence on port commerce required huge infusions of public dollars for transportation and new regulations to protect nearby communities from polluting trucks and port equipment. 

Toxic news: Some of the Chinese goods shipped through California ports last year included jewelry and other toys laced with cadmium, a toxic metal. The Associated Press recently published an investigation of cadmium in certain Chinese goods. That report has prompted federal authorities to act and Wal-Mart to pull the toxic jewelry and toys off its shelves.

About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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