First Rule of Holes: When You Find Yourself in a Hole, Stop Digging.
Once again I have all sorts of partially written posts, but none inspires. Hitler captured, who America’s real enemies are, and a bizarre accident in Russia are all waiting in the wings. Instead, my random rant of the day is going to have to do.
In today’s darkworld news, the USA is going to run a record deficit next year. Nearly half a trillion dollars. It’s an amount of debt so enormous it defies the imagination. I don’t really know the point of all this debt, we will be paying interest on it forever. I don’t really understand why the richest country the world has ever seen can’t balance its books. I don’t think it’s a good thing, but where this is all leading us is anyone’s guess. We’re through the looking glass here financially speaking, I don’t think anyone has ever financed a world wide empire through borrowing. It’s a novel approach, I’ll give Bush that. Still, one has to be reminded of the first rule of holes: “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”
In related economic news a report came out that America’s bridges need $140 billion in repairs and upgrades. And the longer this is put off, the worse it is going to get. The thing that really makes me rend my garments in this report is the information that most of America’s bridges were build with an expected lifespan of fifty years. In other words, they were designed and built as temporary structures? This is crazy, and shows how our so called civilization is little better than a frontier society in some very fundamental ways. Fortunately there is a solution to this crisis. We can borrow the money. (Insert rolled eyes here.)
Congress passed a mortgage bailout bill with little fanfare last week. It’s 700 pages long so I’m not about to read it and give my opinion, though I do suspect a bill this long must be hiding something. As far as I can tell the story of this bill is simple. Americans are dimly aware that there is some sort of crisis going on in the nation’s mortgage industry. (The ones losing their houses are acutely aware, but I digress.) So Congress has passed a bill to fix the problem. Of course it appears that the bill just makes things worse and protects the rich and powerful while bailing them out of their losses at taxpayer expense. At least that what I get reading here and here and here. Or as they state at the last link, more of modern capitalism in America where corporate profits are private but risks are socialized. Prove me wrong.
There was a terrible shooting this weekend in a church in Tennessee, a distraught loner opened fire with a shotgun during a child’s play at a Unitarian church. Two people were killed, several more seriously injured, before the congregation overpowered him and held him for police. A sad story, and one all too common. The reason I am noting it is because he apparently shot the churchgoers because of their liberal views. Now I don’t blame his conservative views for his rampage, this was clearly just a disturbed nut, they come in all stripes and colours. However, what bothers me here, is that I think this is symptomatic of the extremely hostile views of liberals taken by some on the right. Like here and here. To be fair, if anyone knows of any liberal inspired violence, let me know. I dunno though, I can’t imagine even a disturbed hippie going to a fundamentalist church and opening up with a shotgun.
Secondarily this is also symptomatic of a deeper and darker aspect of the American psyche. The idea that if you are just outraged enough and have “taken all you can take” so to speak, that it’s not only acceptable, it’s even desirable to seek violent revenge on those who have harmed you. I dunno, I suspect that man’s righteous retribution is a terrorist attack from the victim’s perspective. Which of course leads to my final question about this church attack, will this be officially classified as a terrorist attack? I mean, a guy did attack people for political purposes, is that not the definition of terrorism? Of course not, only Muslims can be terrorists. That’s why the American suicide bomber of a few years ago got so much press…not.
Oh well, on the plus side (yes, a surprise ending for a Doug’s Darkworld post) the State Department and US Officials are now being quietly told to stop linking Islam and terrorism. Because, gee, gratuitously insulting the 99% of Muslims who aren’t our enemies was causing all sorts of problems. Does this mean there’s hope? Nah.
(The above image of the Kimberley Big Hole has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder. Credit: Rudolph Botha. Dug between 1866 and 1914 by hand, the Kimberley Big Hole is about 460m (1500 ft) wide and was dug to nearly 250m (800 ft) deep. Long assumed to be the world’s largest hand dug hole, modern analysis shows that distinction probably belongs to the Jagersfontein Mine. These were diamond mines, and the amount of diamonds pulled from the Big Hole wouldn’t fill a pick up truck bed. And yes, I am suggesting a tortured analogy here between Bush’s deficit an the big hole. A huge number of poor people worked very hard to dig up these diamonds, but the profits went to a very few, and all the poor have left to show for it is a big hole. I guess I could have titled the picture “colonialism illustrated” by that measure.)