Corn Amazing

People have used the 911 service to make some weird emergency calls, but this may take the cake — or the corn.

A Massachusetts couple took their three-week-old child into a corn maze in Danvers.  About an hour later they were hopelessly lost, darkness was beginning to fall, and the mosquitoes were starting to bite.  So the couple took out their cell phone, called 911, and asked the police to “rescue” them.  The police obliged, and the K-9 unit arrived and found the befuddled family before the call even ended.

In fairness to these people, the maze does look to be pretty elaborate, and apparently it takes people, on average, 45 minutes to work their way through the full maze.  But taking a three-week-old child into a corn maze?  Really?  And calling 911 to have the police “rescue” you from a corn maze?  Really?  The woman in the couple said their predicament was “embarrassing,” but I’d say it was more than that.  What if the police who were helping the couple had been needed for a real emergency — and been unable to make it because they were helping the freaked-out couple avoid a few mosquito bites?

The President’s Bill Goes Down — Now What?

Last night the United States Senate — in one of those weird maneuvers that make sense only to Senators — took a vote that killed President Obama’s “jobs” bill.  A majority of Senators voted in favor of moving the bill forward, but there weren’t enough votes to overcome a threatened filibuster.  Every Republican opposed it, as did two Democrats, and other Democrats stated that they would have voted against the bill on its merits even if it had cleared the procedural hurdles.

So, the President’s speeches, radio addresses, and instructions to “pass this bill right away” failed to drum up support for his bill.  No shocker there!  Any request for another half trillion dollars in “stimulus” spending and tax increases was never going to pass Congress with Republicans in charge of the House, although it may be surprising that the bill couldn’t even get the unanimous support of Senate Democrats.  In any case, the President can now rail against a “do-nothing” Congress during next year’s campaign — which may have been part of his motivation for proposing the doomed measure in the first place.

The Republicans have claimed that President Obama’s proposal was just campaign politicking.  So what?  Does anyone really think the President is above partisan politics?   The problem with the President’s proposal is not that it was “political,” but that it did not generate much public support and the moderate Democratic Senators realized that.  The Republicans therefore demonstrated that there is no appetite in the country for hundreds of billions of dollars in more spending and more taxes to pay for it — which probably was their goal from the beginning.

So, each side likely has the political argument that they wanted out of this process.  Bully for them!  No doubt the “talking points” have already been drafted and distributed, and the insiders can lean back in their chairs and breathe a sigh of satisfaction at a job well done.  But, despite this tremendous exercise in careful political posturing, unemployment remains too high, the federal debt is skyrocketing, and the economic is becalmed.  For the rest of us outside the confines of the Beltway, the question is:  “Now what?”

Starting The Day Off With A Troubling Jam

Today I’m holding my breath about getting to work, because yesterday’s morning drive caused me to realize, once again, that many of my fellow commuters are dangerous lunatics.

Sometime early yesterday a tanker truck overturned near the intersection of Route 161 and I-270, two of the major roads in Columbus.  Both highways were closed in both directions for the entire morning rush hour.  As a result, thousands of cars that normally use those arteries had to find alternative routes, and the entire east side of Columbus quickly became a paralyzed mass of red-faced, frustrated drivers.  Every road heading in the direction of downtown was filled with cars inching along, bumper to bumper, going nowhere.

It’s amazing how quickly the veneer of civilization is ripped away when this kind of thing happens.  After a few minutes of delay and the horrifying sight of long lines of stationary cars, drivers get the sinking feeling that this is going to be bad — and then the inner savage appears.  Selfish drivers blithely block intersections as traffic lights change, infuriating everyone trying to get through the crossing.  Drivers recklessly weave in and out, change lanes to move forward a single car length, and abruptly make illegal U-turns.  Some people will drive on the berm, and other self-nominated traffic code enforcers try to block them from doing so.

You look at the well-dressed people in the stopped cars around you, gesturing angrily or beating their hands against the steering wheel, and you wonder whether they shouldn’t be wearing face paint and bearskins.