Monday, August 23, 2010

The Cemetery Saga and Stuff, Over-uneasily -- A Whole Lot of Shaking Going Down

UPDATE:  The Cemetery Shakedown Saga

It seems that three more families have spoken up about being shaken down by the charming woman at the city's Division of Cemeteries.

You'll recall that a Mrs.Gardner, city employee extraordinaire, tells bereaved family members to bring large chunks of cash with them to pay for gravediggers at the interment of a loved one.  Now it comes out that quite a bit of that large chunk of cash goes to her grandson, who sometimes shows up to open a grave and sometimes doesn't.

That's a pretty sorry state of affairs, but even sorrier is the odd fact that it would be perfectly acceptable, and within city procedures, if Mrs. Gardner had simply added her grandson's name to a list of "approved" gravedigging contractors compiled by the city and given the list to the bereaved.  You can read about the latest travesty here.  I have to admire those families who've just thumbed their noses at the whole shebang and dug graves for their loved ones themselves (supervised, of course, by a $100 gravedigging Supervisor).

Simply shameful.

Also.  There's this to ponder -- 

Margaret Hamburg (there's a bad joke in that name somewhere, but I won't go there today), Chief of the Food and Drug Administration, is speaking out in connection with the egg-induced bouts of salmonella making the rounds lately.  The FDA needs, according to Hamburg and others, more authority to put preventive controls in place and "hold companies accountable" for outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.  And, it's not just the FDA that's speaking out.  Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest agreed: "You can’t produce food at that level without a food safety cop on the beat."

Did she really say that out loud?  Food Safety Cops?!?!  Literal food safety cops?!?!

Now, I'm certainly not a big fan of salmonella.  Let me make this perfectly clear (heh), suffering from food poisoning of any sort is nowhere near the top of my wish list.  But enacting legislation that would enable another governmental agency to order a recall of a product (instead of having to wait for the business to issue a voluntary recall) just scares the holy fool out of me. 

The current system of having producers suck it up and admit that their product is faulty or unsafe resonates much more with me than having Uncle Sam do it for them.  Plus, lawsuits start flowing pretty soon to get a little help for injured parties.  To mess with the current procedure would cause a sea change in getting consumers reparations for their injuries.  The prospect of having to say a mea culpa  on a national platform plus the threat of endless, expensive litigation seems to me to be a pretty powerful incentive to get it right from  the get-go.  The threat of inspections, and "being held accountable," is not the best motivator, especially with federal government's track record of "inspections" (read: shake downs.)  Smells to me like more "penalties" going into the federal kitty and fewer damages being available for injured folk.

We need less government intrusion into our live these days -- not more. 

But I suppose "egg inspector" would be a "green job" of sorts for the White House to add to the tally.  


Just sayin'.


  1. Apropos of the grave digging thing... I always thought everyone was buried above ground in N'Awlins, or is that just myth?

    I'm in full agreement with the egg inspector thing. Our system works pretty well as is.

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  3. Apparently some folks are actually planted, but then they float up every now and then. Not a pleasant thing to contemplate. The article suggests that the "gravediggers" sometimes just open up a family tomb. Poorly.

    It's all just very creepy. Pepper and I are going to a fundraise for the "Save Our Cemeteries" group in October -- I'll get some lowdown there!