This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 9, 2011 11:36 PM. The previous post in this blog was Housing pit still has no bottom. The next post in this blog is Rape of Hayden Island gets DEQ blessing. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Inside the Beltway

We just returned from a jaunt to the East Coast, where the temperatures are 10 degrees warmer and gas is 45 cents a gallon cheaper. We spent some quality time in Washington, D.C., which seems to be doing fine these days, at least on the surface. We made our traditional pilgrimage to see this guy:

The reflecting pool is all torn up for repairs, but it's still a special place.

There were some blue notes as we walked around the Mall. It dawned on us that we've reached the point that we don't trust these institutions much any more. Government at all levels has been exposed as a sorry mess, and it takes a little of the glow away.

The no-drive zone around the White House just gets bigger and bigger, and the place is now a heavily armed camp. As we walked along 17th over by the Executive Office Building, on one grassy patch a uniformed Secret Service guy in sunglasses was striking a heavy pose, openly brandishing a machine gun. Dark times indeed. A few minutes later, a hipster came tooling down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the house on a Segway -- apparently that's o.k., but for a minute there we expected his ride to be terminated with extreme prejudice.

We cruised out of the nation's capital on an Acela train, which is a wonderful thing. But our departure coincided with the start of the 40th annual National Train Day at Union Station, where huge crowds were assembled to enjoy what big signs were touting as "free fun for all." It was hard to find one's way to an actual working train.

The Amtrak people were making a big security show, with cop videos on oversized flat screen monitors, and bomb-sniffing dogs roaming the place with their keepers. Didn't bother us a bit -- the dogs are beautiful -- but it was another sign of our not-so-good times.

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