One African nation has kicked off a new tourism campaign: “Come Visit Us, We’re The Best S—hole In The World!”

Several kind folks have been asking me why I haven’t been blogging lately. Working on my next novel, The Puppet Master, now expected to be released this summer, I have admittedly slacked off on my blogging.

The above African nation tourism ad got me to thinking. Maybe we need to have a contest to pick the biggest S—hole in the world. I’ll nominate a few. Maybe you’ll post some comments on this blog and grow the list with a few foul choices of your own.

The common theme that comes through on my non-exhaustive list is why our political representatives consistently seem to require a reminder–and considerable prodding–to do their jobs? In no particular order, then, here are a few suggestions to prompt your nominations, in each instance an example of our so-called “leaders” turning the other cheek until they are finally embarrassed into acting:

+ You will recall young Gabriel Fernandez, slowly and oh so sadly tortured to death by his mother and her boyfriend. The boyfriend was just convicted of first degree murder and given the death penalty. The mother is soon to be tried for first degree murder as well. More importantly, the social workers who inexplicably turned the other cheek on poor Gabriel are soon to be tried for second degree murder. Hip, hip, hooray. It’s about time. Only now, once these social workers were finally called to task, is the social services department, which was not doing its job finally starting to improve the handling of its responsibilities. Why did they need such prodding? Seems like their prior work ethic could be spelled . . . B U R E A U C R A T  I C   L A Z I N E S S.

+ Have you seen the recent Los Angeles police and firefighters Deferred Retirement Option Plans (“DROP”) stories that have only recently been reported around the country? The DROP program was supposedly enacted to cover employee shortages by encouraging retirement age police officers and firefighters to stick around for another five years. The inducement: Their pensions would be deferred for the five years, but would earn 5% per annum. Not bad in this low, low interest rate economy. Better still, the employees were provided top salaries for the five year extension. And it turns out that, within weeks of beginning their extended tours, on the order of two-thirds of them were taking disability leaves of one or two years for common NOT on the job ailments, receiving full pay during their extended leave time. Reportedly, one such officer competed in a marathon while he was on such disability leave. Spell this pattern . . . F R A U D. Cities around the country have all too late been cancelling their DROP programs right and left, but not Los Angeles. Not until the Los Angeles Times recently exposed this scandal are Los Angeles City Council members belatedly speaking out and suggesting that the program needs to be “reevaluated.” Why did they need such prodding? Could it be because labor unions feed the reelection coffers of such City Council members?

+  Over a period of at least two decades, Larry Nassar, “MD,” sexually abused HUNDREDS of young female gymnasts. How could this have gone “unnoticed” for so long? Was it that no one–really no one–blew the whistle on Nassar? Not one gymnast? Not one parent? Turns out that officials from (i) Michigan State University, where Nassar was employed, (ii) USA Gymnastics, the governing body of the sport in the U.S., and (iii) the United States Olympic Committee, knew or had reason to know that Nassar was abusing all of these children. But quietly ignored what they were hearing. Why would they do that? Because they loved their cushy positions (but not their responsibilities) and didn’t want to rattle any cages? Only now that heads are finally beginning to roll are these folks “discovering” that they “may” have been a bit . . . lax.

So, what’s the common denominator? The answer is that we put people in positions of trust, public and private, who are more concerned about preserving their posh positions than they are about properly discharging their obligations of trust. Of course, I don’t condone Gabriel’s mother or the cops and firefighters who have become robbers, or Nassar, but I am more offended–far more offended–by those trustees who could and should have intervened, but who patently turned the other cheek for their own private gain, until publicly embarrassed into taking action.

They are the real S—-holes. Along, perhaps, with those to whom such trustees are accountable. You and me. Who don’t hold these trustees accountable.

So, who might YOU nominate as S—holes–in-chief?

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