Sunday, March 17, 2013


The Bridge to Nowhere isn't really nowhere. It is a political pun and an embarrassment to its sponsors, but the bridge did go somewhere.

The bridge would connect the town of Ketchikan on the Alaskan shore to the island of Gravina just offshore. Ketchikan, like all towns, wants to grow, but it can't because it is hemmed in by mountains to the east. The only room for growth was the island of Gravina. Already the town's airport was located there. A ferry connected the island to the town.

If the Chamber of Commerce could convince the world a bridge was needed, suddently the landmass of greater Ketchikan would be quadrupled; shopping centers could be built; subdivisions could spring up; the town would be back on the growth path desired by all Chambers of Commerce.

Unfortunately, the bridge would be long and high and cost a great deal. The cost benefit ratios were problematical, but that was not the real problem. The real problem was, this was an election year. So the catchy phrase, Bridge to Nowhere, entered our political vocabulary.


What to do when your spouse mispeaks? Today my spouse was speaking of the closing of Sweet Bay grocery stores. She said not all stores were closed; that the store near her sister was not closed. Then she stated, "I was surprised they closed that store because there is a Publix across the street."

Foolishly, I said, "You mean didn't close." Whereupon she treated me like an idiot and repeated several times all her statements related to the closing of Sweet Bay, which took several minutes of silence on my part.

I learned not to correct my spouse when she misspeaks. Let it go. There may be confusion in your life as to whether Sweet Bay is closed or not, but that is insignificant compared to your spouse thinking you care not to understand her or cannot understand her.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

WHO IS FOOLING WHOM? Periodically we have spasms of moral outrage that a recipient of some welfare program had scammed the system - received benefits to which they were not entitled. These spasms are usually related to calls to reform the system - meaning usually to reduce the amount of benefits available or beneficiaries who qualify - sometimes connected to calls to end waste in government. Why are people surprised that someone is gaming the welfare system? Really? Were we expecting perfection? It does not exist - in welfare or in life. How many self employed taxpayer fudge on their expenses (seldom on income as that is traceable and translates into serious penalties) or how many defense contractors fudge on their expenses. Are we agreed that both catagories are perfection? Are we surprised when it is revealed that a defense contractor charged the government for a dog sitter? Perhaps reason for jest but no calls to outlaw defense contractors - to either reduce the benefits they receive or the number of defense contractor who benefit from government largess. In these matters as in most things we deal with percentages. When the percentages of tax fraud grows exponential, a reaction occurs. When the percentage of government contractors gaming the system grows too large, a reaction occurs. The same in any government program - including that which claims the lowest percentage of our national expenditures - the people at the bottom of the totem pole.