Our monthly Diarist’s print magazine installment.
(Page 2 of 3)
By the way, a soldier who sat next to us on SW said the food in Afghanistan on his base is superb. On Sundays they get steak and lobster. Pretty good. They deserve it.
My wife and I were all teary until we got into our rented Caddy and headed out of the airport. Ooops. The government is doing work on the highway and many lanes were constricted to one. It was one of the worst traffic jams I have ever seen in Spokane—after midnight. I was really furious, especially because I did not see one single solitary workman.
Long ago, Joan Didion wrote a piece on Caltrans, the road repair entity in California. She wanted to find out why they scheduled work so as to cause such terrible traffic jams. She went down to the headquarters of Caltrans and asked about it, and what they basically answered was, “We don’t give a damn about what happens to the motorists. We do what’s easiest for us as bureaucrats.”
So there you have it. The best of the government — the soldiers doing their brave duty. The worst of government — the bureaucrats screwing up our lives by just doing what’s easiest for them.
It took an hour to get through the traffic and zip along to Coeur d’Alene, and thence up Highway 95 to glorious Sandpoint. By the time we got to town, it was two a.m. Alex was suffering from sore throat pain so we went to the Dairy Depot and bought her three huckleberry milkshakes. It was amazing to behold the parade of beer buyers trying to beat the two a.m. cut-off point. Back at our little condo, Mr. Buffett’s trains went roaring by. The news on TV was all about a hurricane approaching D.C. and New York. I am worried about Wlady, Bob, Russ, Chris DeMuth, Bob Noah, my niece, her family, my super great sister and her family. Worried about them all. I lay in bed for a long time listening to the trains. I love it here in Idaho. But then I love everywhere in America. Not equally, though.
I slept very late, again. This is getting to be a curse—staying up late and sleeping late.
I kept thinking about something terribly upsetting that I had seen on C-Span a couple of days ago. The Congressional Black Caucus was having a meeting to discuss the recession and black people. The moderator of the panel of black legislators in Congress asked my neighbor, Rep. Maxine Waters, what she would tell black poor people to do in the recession.
Now, let me tell you first of all that I have a complex relation with Rep. Waters. She and I argued vigorously long years ago about mandatory cross-town busing in Los Angeles. She was for it. I was against it. I said it would wreck the schools. Despite the wishes of the voters, judges forced busing down the city’s throat. The schools are a shadow of their former selves. Was it because of busing? I would say “partly” but not entirely. So I have been unhappy about Ms. Waters for some years.
On the other hand, she stood up to Goldman Sachs at many hearings and would often be the only one in the room to take them to task and I admire her for that.
However, at this C-Span event, as noted, she was asked what she would tell poor black people in the recession (or the slow recovery) to do to help themselves. Her suggestion was to organize themselves and demand that government save them and give them money and jobs. (I am paraphrasing here…this was the gist of Rep. Waters’ suggestions, not her exact words.)
I found her disturbing. My idea of a good answer would be, (1) Acquire useful skills like math or languages or plumbing or anything people need, (2) Learn and execute great work habits so that when employers are hiring, they will want you, (3) Save your money and spend carefully so you will have a reserve, (4) Limit your number of dependents to what you can actually afford to support without handouts.
But Mrs. Waters basically said, “Use your votes to make the other guy pay for your life.” At least that’s how I heard it and maybe I am wrong. But her suggestions to me were just more welfare dependence, less self-respect, less self-support. Just for me, I think many Americans are not comfortable with Ms. Waters. We want an America at work—not an America on the dole.
However, maybe I am wrong about all of this. In any event, I
have control only over me. And little
enough of that.
After a restless night, I dragged my old self out of bed, ate my breakfast, shaved, got dressed, went out for a bike ride. It is too damned hot here. Way, way too hot. This is Idaho and we are at about 2500 feet, but it is too hot today. I am really hot. Plus, there seems to be a convention of Samoan martial arts people on the beach here. Their children keep running in front of my bike and it’s making me nervous. Why are we having a convention of Samoans here anyway? I like Samoans. They are incredibly brave. But this park is too small for so many of them and I don’t want to collide with their kids.
Today is my father’s birthday. I think about him constantly. What would he think of my life and my fantastic wastefulness? Actually, he would have some criticism and some praise and then he would want to talk about himself. Just the same as anyone else. My sister said I should act sensibly in honor of him. I am not sure I have any good sense left. My sister got all of the good sense. I got the anarchy. Just kidding. I miss my Pop something fierce, though. If yours is alive, be grateful every instant.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?