The State of the Nation II

You may remember a picture I posted here about a year and a half ago, an old shack in the snow, a tattered flag in front and my caption about the place still being open for business.

A lot has gone on since then, some of it good, but a lot more not so good if you ask me.

We have a well spoken ditherer in charge of the store, slim, deep voiced and pensive to a fault; calm to the point of somnolence, nearly on the cowardly side of  recollected response to problems, and timid where boldness is required. It might be expected that someone who spent much of his professional life as an “organizer”, who had hope and change as his strong horses, would be able to do more than, in response to his own cry that “Yes, we can!”, wave weakly and say, “A moment, please, while I give this some more thought.”; or, “It is, after all, our own fault.”

And so, it seems to me again, that what business we may do within the neighborhood is being taken from us, or we are letting it go to the friendly and not so friendly competition, while many of our customers drift away, and our suppliers cheat us of goods needed to keep body and soul (a much disputed concept in itself) together or abuse our trust and bring ruin on places of beauty through carelessness, incompetence or laziness .

In that vein I offer you this photographic metaphor of the State of the Nation, a building which stands alongside a road in the close to failed State of California near the headwaters of the Sacramento River; the Golden State you may recall.

I was not near enough to Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama or Florida, or I might have offered a photograph of some oil slimed sea birds, hundreds of docked fishing vessels, angry citizens, closed motels or miles of goo gobbed beaches for your meditation on the matter of  the current state of affairs in these Untied States:

We are experiencing difficulties, and awaiting a decision on whether or not we need to do something.


12 responses to “The State of the Nation II

  1. For eight long years, greed was the watchword of the rich and even richer, as well as, their partners in the majority of our representatives of our government. We rushed to a war to pre-empt the use of weapons of mass destruction which we never found. The cost of the war was in the hundreds of billions of dollars, most of which was never reported. We lost seemingly un-noticed jobs to countries beyond our shores, given away by companies who didn’t care about American workers, only about lowering the unit price cost of production. These same companies claimed made in the USA on their products and never lowered their sale prices to reflect the savings in unit price cost because of outsourcing jobs. Americans still were expected to pay full price even though our work force was losing jobs to foreign countries. Then the shit hit the fan and a recession occurred. Had it become a full depression, it would have made 1929 look like a sunny day in May. No one screamed impeach the stupid SOB who allowed this to happen in both of his stolen terms of office. But the guy who is in office now is a ditherer? He’s accomplished more in a year than the drunken moron addict before him did in 8 years. If you have a solution to the oil spill then let’s have it. I don’t. So I tend to keep my mouth shut and hope that their are more knowledgable people than I who can solve the problem. I have never been in favor of drilling in our waters shallow or deep. I’d like to see electric cars and the development of alternative fuel supplies so the mid east has to eat it’s oil to survive. Maybe then terrorism won’t be so freely funded by that part of the world.

    • I tend to think that greed has been a watchword for quite a number of us, for any of us if we have the opportunity. My memory of such outsourcing moves as have been made allows as how no one, former philanderers as well as former drunks in high places, comes away clean. A case can be made that there was not one but there were many stupid SOBs involved in the melt down still affecting us. It is ironic that the screws came loose in the Caribbean only moments it seems after we changed course about offshore drilling.

      As regards solutions to the black mess spreading down south I am clueless. Why, I have trouble cleaning up after myself in the shower. I do think, though, that the man I named a ditherer is running to catch a train which has already left without him, and beginning to claim, from the end of the platform, that he is really up front at the controls. I sometimes wonder what things must be like among those who work closely with him as they pace up and down waiting for someone, anyone to say something, anything about getting something done….even if its wrong, as my father, may he rest in peace, used to say. There is a time for thinking and there isn’t. This is one of the latter times. The Navy has submarines. May not one of them be employed, somehow, to some advantage in the case?

      I am with you on alternative solutions, but then, if I had things my way we’d all be on the Bx-20 again, and happily reading the paper on the way to work, or smelling each others effluvia on the IRT on the way home, and the NJ Turnpike wouldn’t be a thousand lanes wide.

  2. Gabriel Austin

    Matters in our nation are , indeed, in parlous condition. But I do not follow the blame mentality for the gulf oil spill. As the engineer Henry Petoski points out in his several books, accidents are unavoidable. We are not God. We cannot foresee every possible contingency. If there is someone to be blamed in this affair, it is indeed Mr. Obama for pretending that he can do better than the engineers of the petroleum company.
    One should say to our politicos and reporters: accidents happen. Grow up!

    • I do not follow the daily press on anything, and only glean bits and pieces occasionally, and I have been thousands of miles away from here for most of the past month. I was more than mildly surprised to come back and find that, essentially, nothing had been done, and that this mess now covers an area which is larger than three states.

      Well, we are a country which likes to set records.

      My own poor brain tells me that Cool Hope, about whose emptiness I have long had suspicions, has once again done what empty people do, nothing. I picture fellows like Emmanuel screaming at him, “We’re bleeding everywhere over this. DO something!”

      Alas. He still looks great in a suit, though.

      And, now, he wants to “Kick some ass.” This is, well, something. I guess.

  3. Do I hear the heartfelt cry: “Will nobody stop that B….. from Peeing?”

    • Hello Terry,
      I understand that someone in the bowels of the bureaucracy informed us recently that there are, and have been for a while, several other leaks within miles of this mighty hole in the earth. They assured us that they have been watching them…carefully, I suppose. The leaky bladder is very leaky.
      Pinhole regards,

  4. Something is terribly wrong with this whole picture. Nobody smart enough to be an attorney or become his party’s nomination for president is as “dithering” and downright foolish as he appears.

    None of this is really rocket science, folks. We’ve known for many generations that money printed from thin air and generations of spending beyond your means can’t possibly have a good end. There is not one single instance of a successful central government or control economy in THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. You can’t liberate anyone by applying more chains.

    No one of any station is so absolutely and downright dumb as to think this agenda can actually be good for the nation or citizenry.

    Five and five do not make nine. The sky is not orange, even to the color blind. When the questions consistently don’t add up or even fit the answers, something else is going on. Someone is pulling a con job.

    “Watch the shells carefully! Where is the pea?” Of course, the pea was never in any of the empty shells, or empty suits for that matter.

    Some people are starting to wonder if Mr. Hope and Change is not the savior they hoped for … that he isn’t even very competent at solving the problems he said he’d magically fix.

    I’m beyond that. This isn’t about competence, or even hope. This is about a brave new world. Hussein Obama knows precisely what he is doing.

    • Hello Michael,
      It is a common failing that we begin to believe our own opinion of ourselves, which is always greater than the reality. Of course, alone we may sometimes come face to face with the truth. Unless, I happen to think, we have some help in understanding we aren’t any different from the rest of the slobs…and despite that, as Hopkins says, we are immortal diamond…then we may as well become ditherers, or Hamlets, or Neros.

      To be precious in our own eyes, as we seem for a long while to have been is a folly, the consequences of which we seem to be reaping in so many areas, and have been for a while. That is at least the way I am coming to see it.

      To recognize ourselves as precious in the eyes of another, for no other reason than that we are is something else again. Children do that. The really terrible thing is losing that sense as we grow up and begin to believe only in us.

      We may wish to try to accommodate our behaviors to that fact. There, I think, is a concept in which to place our hope, and a change worthy of making.

      I think the President thinks he knows what he is doing, and that is a perilous thing.

      Ironic regards,


    In the half-light of the canyon, there is always hope.
    I see angry rhetoric on both sides. One man cannot change and make right all that needs changing.
    I do know this, that, unless we clean up, the air, the land and the seas, our race, known as man won’t be around much longer. Our populations balloons out of all proportion, eventually our Blue Planet will not be the clement place we know today.
    Anger is toxic, I know all the answers and like Cassandra of the Trojan Women, few seem to listen.
    If I have anger its toward our system that seem unable to educate and change human behavior in ways that will result in a long term outcome where man is part of a sustainable environment.

    • Hello Wes,
      The problem may simply be that the folks whom we …I hate to use the term…placed all our hope in are just that, folks, and we’ve become some kind of sheep allowing them to lead us astray. Maybe. Or, to borrow your apt and lovely metaphor, the half light we believe we see is a reaction to having fallen from the canyon’s edge and given ourselves quite a knock on the head. Perhaps the canyon is so deep that when we awaken we’ll find it so dark we won’t be able to see our hands in front of our faces; if we awaken.

      When did we fall? Well, perhaps back when we began to think we could jump across to the other side, and soon convinced ourselves that we could.

      There are those who say that we ought to listen for the message behind all of this…as I think you are saying. Some might say the messenger has wings and comes in the form of light into that half-light. Other would say it is the earth itself wincing. Whomever one may think speaks…or winces…the blood is being poured out.

      It embarrasses me on some level that we, who have thought ourselves the “hope” of the world for quite a while now, are responsible for this. But then, if we learn humility I would call that a proper kind of enlightenment to have…and, possibly sell to the rest of the darkened world.

      What I am most is amused by this and the irony of it. I think Someone else may not be so amused.


  6. Will you people make up your mind!!!!!
    You expect us to believe you when you say, “Wha-a-a-a-a-h! Government take over. The best government is small government – maybe even no government. And we don’t want to be taxed. We want lower taxes (or maybe even no-taxes-for-me-at least). ”

    And now you call our President “a well-spoken ditherer”. “Wha-a-a-a-a. Why doesn’t the government clean up that horrible oil spill. The government is just doing nothing but sitting there. We want a government to save our Gulf, save our beaches, save our wild-life, save our fishin’ jobs, and tourism jobs, etc. – and oh by the way, the government should do it for free – because I still don’t like paying taxes. I don’t care about no deficit – Oh wait a minute … I DO care about the deficit!!! Wha-a-a-a-a-a-a-a!!!”

    Grow up folks. It was private industry, BP, who created this mess – combined with lack of government oversight (didn’t have the tax revenue to fund no oversight). Stop living in a fantasy world and stop acting like babies. My mom and dad taught me a real simple lesson a long time ago. “You get what you pay for.” Still true.

    • Hello Mike,

      I admit to being a little surprised, because I don’t think I heard any cries from anyone here commenting that Uncle Sugar take over the clean-up. About the closest to that may have been my mention that the Navy has submarines and perhaps some use could be made of them. (Did I mention that, or do I just think I mentioned that?) But aside from that glancing reference, there seems to me to be ample reason for some kind of governmental assumption of responsibility, and that is that the thing has grown so bloody large. One wouldn’t have to search the record long to come up with parallels; simply look at the financial bailouts of the past two years…when a lot of folks were saying, well, let the darn banks fail, why not, they should since their own stupidity and greed got ’em into this mess first off.

      That was a private industry, too.

      The guy, and this is my own opinion…at least the word is…is a ditherer. But the evidence is there for that. Even folks in his own party are becoming upset that he hasn’t done more than they think he should have been doing all along from shortly after this almost two months long mess started.

      I’m sure Harry Truman would have.

      Anyway, it’s late, and I’m tired.

      My blankie awaits.


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