Living in a Kleptocracy…the Erudite Travelers of Southwest AirlinesPosted: August 4, 2008 | |
Back from our honeymoon, which was combined with the GCLS (Golden Crown Literary Society) annual convention in – God help me – Phoenix, Arizona. The coolest we found the temperature was 91-degrees (F) at 4:30 in the morning. Why were we up at that time while on a honeymoon? More on that later.
The convention was great, as usual, and you can find photos of the venue, seminars, other things and the awards dinner here: (http://photobucket.com/polrobin).
We had to take a short hop during our vacation up to Salt Lake City for Kit’s doctoral graduation. On the flight up we encountered (overheard his booming voice behind us) waxing philosphic on everything from the expanding universe to global warming. In his words, “global warming is crap…the Earth will heal itself. It can shake us off like a dog shakes off a flea.” I leaned over to Kit and said, “Don’t we have to flea-dip our beastie to get rid of fleas?”
He went on. And on. And on. However, he couldn’t hold a candle to the guy we had on the flight back from Phoenix to Burbank last night. HE was a prize-winner. After spending 30 minutes of the trip on the back restroom, he came out and loudly began his dissertation on life. From memory: “Paper money isn’t worth crap, it’s part of a government conspiracy. Silver is the only way to go.” That took up about 20 minutes. Then came the discourse on General Patton and his career as a sharpshooter. Apparently Patton “NEVER” missed. Not once. The came the detailing of the amount of “ass” he got while stationed in Germany during the Vietnam War. This was followed up (in increasing volume) by his opinion on the Iraq War. When he began to go into killing women and children I began to gear myself up to address him. He was loud, crass, offensive and very, very drunk. Fortunately the lovely woman squeezed in next to him caught my eye and managed in her very gentle and genuine way, to deflect him.
She was an angel. And after we landed and she and I chatted, she said she “had my angels around me” to help her deal with him. She must have, I tell you.
Then he went on about the “Kleptocracy” of America. As he was going on about that, he insisted, “if you go to Wikipedia, you’ll see…it’s right there.” At that point Kit, me and about six others just lost it, laughing. During his Patton tribute, an older gentleman who probably was around when Patton was on the Olympic team, just shook his head, laughing silently. It’s amazing how much nonverbal communication can be shared amongst strangers while one man is loudly holding court to a captive audience.
Writing this, I decided to look up his word. What do you know? (And yes, this is from Wiki)…
A kleptocracy (sometimes cleptocracy, occasionally kleptarchy) (root: klepto+kratein = rule by thieves) is a term applied to a government that extends the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class (collectively, kleptocrats) at the expense of the population. A kleptocratic government often goes beyond mere cronyism and nepotism, or awarding the prime contracts and civil service posts to relatives or personal friends rather than the most competent applicants. They also create projects and programs at a policy level which serve the primary purpose of funneling money out of the treasury and into the pockets of the executive with little if any regard for the logic, viability or necessity of those projects.
What do you know?