The Years of Living Dangerously

Hey, let’s all live dangerously.  What do you say?

Nope, I’m not talking bungee jumping.

Goooooooggggglllllllllleeeeeeeeeee Imageeeeeeeeeeee

Nope, I’m not talking sky diving.

Ahhhhhhhhh (Google again)

Nope, I am not even talking about driving down the I-95 corridor.


I’m talking seriously daring as a group activity.  Because now that it’s summertime, well, we all need to P-A-R-T-Y.    And we need to do it all together.  It’ll be a blast.

Here, you go first.  Drive across this bridge.

Whittier Bridge on I-95 in Northern Mass. (Thanks Google)

It’s the twin of this bridge, and in roughly the same condition as this bridge was just before, well, you know.

Minnesota Bridge collapse. (Google Image)

Wouldn’t it be especially fun to drive across that?  The adrenaline rush would be amazing.  Especially when you drive across it real slow, with thousands of other similar thrill seekers.  A hoot-and-a-half?

And you don’t need to just play on that bridge.  Nope.  A study  published last year by Transportation for America found:

One in Nine Bridges in America “Structurally Deficient, Potentially Dangerous”

So chances are you won’t have to go too far to find a place to play this game.  Here’s a link to a map that will show you where. We can get  thrills every single day!

Across the country, there is the cry of “cut-cut-cut,” by which the town criers mean “gut-gut-gut.”  And it is giving everyone in the country multiple opportunities to tempt fate.  To see just how thoroughly we can decimate our services and our infrastructure before calamity strikes.

Who needs thrills from extreme sports when reality is always near?

Have you heard about what happened recently when reality struck in Colorado Springs, Colorado?

Colorado Springs is considered the “birthplace” of The Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which has spread like wildfire throughout the country, in part spawning the Tea Party movement.  It is also the home of “Focus on the Family,” you know, that bunch of progressives whose fearless leader claims “was the tea party before the tea party was cool.”

Last year, there was an election for the job of Colorado Springs Mayor.  Nine candidates ran.  Six of them signed Grover Norquist’s “no taxes” pledge.  (The very same pledge that has stymied the U.S. Congress.)  One candidate, Richard Skorman, didn’t sign the pledge.  His reasoning?

“What if the city got hit by a major wildfire?”

But reasonableness and forward thinking no longer wins votes it seems.

Mr. Skorman lost, and the candidate who won, had signed Grover’s pledge.  And “cut” was just what new Mayor Steve Bach did.  They laid off policemen and firefighters.  Sold assets.  Cut-cut-cut-cut-cut.  Yahoo!

Oh, but have you read the news lately?  Well, it seems that the city of Colorado Springs got hit by a major wildfire!  Who could have imagined that that would ever happen?  I mean, it’s a freak occurrence, right?  It never happens.  Right?  Who knew? Who could have predicted it?

Google Image

Now that the unimaginable has happened, well, they’ve called in the National Guard because, due to (1) the catastrophe, (2) the reduced police force; (3) the reduced firefighting resources; and (4) LOOTING, they need help.  Yes, there aren’t enough firefighters to protect the town, folks are looting, and there aren’t enough police to handle the crimes.

Who would ever have guessed?  Oh, yeah.  One of the candidates guessed.  My bad.

When did we become a country so unwilling to work together, to pool our resources to prevent problems and to tackle the unforeseen?  When did paying your fare share become something that only fools and progressives do?  When did working together to build a better country become something for patsies?

Oh yeah.  1980.  I remember it well.

Remember? “The government IS the problem.”

There is real need to work together, chip in — in cash and sweat equity.  That’s how America was built.  That’s how it became a great nation.  Because that’s what is really at stake in our political philosophy and the folks who are unwilling to pay more reasonable taxes (and by folks I mean the rich bastards who can afford to pay way more.  I’m talking to you, Mitt and to your buddies).

Are we a country that builds or a country that crumbles.  That collapses.  That burns.

Elections matter.


Filed under Climate Change, Criminal Activity, Driving, Global Warming, Humor, Hypocrisy, Law, Real Estate, Taxes

68 responses to “The Years of Living Dangerously

  1. Pingback: Reality Doesn’t Make It Onto the Nightly News — or into State Legislatures | FiftyFourandAHalf

  2. Well said, and a blogger after my own heart. I’ve always said that there’s nothing worth saying that can’t be said while laughing and you’ve put just the right humorous spin on this.


  3. Just want you to know I read your every post. This one is crucial. You have me remembering all the bridges I have crossed and I am left wondering. There is so much work to do. Just want you to know there are “other crumbling bridges” I’m trying to repair every day. As another bumper sticker states “You think education is expensive? Try ignorance.” I know you have probably already read it, but it is a life’s work.


    • Thanks for the nice comment, Georgette. Yes, there is a whole lot of work to be done, and that piper always needs paying. But, we must do it — whether “it” means bridges, education, medical coverage, whatever, “it” must be done and it takes everyone working together and, drum roll, please, money (which of course means taxes.


  4. Well said!! And I’ve been across that bridge in MA several times on my way to Maine, as well. When will we, as a country, get it that cooperation will get us a lot further than competition?


  5. GOF, you shouldn’t worry about it. You don’t have to vote here! It’s the willful ignorance of folks here who vote for people thinking they will lead who are in fact, sheep.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your decision to stop thinking about American politics with “Dubya” — I am still disgusted that he was once my president. The damage he did to the economy and to the world will take years to mend.

    As for the wildfire, yes, I am sure that everyone has worked together to control it, and it is mostly contained. But the US is experiencing a horrible heat wave across most of the country, and there are likely to do others. Some natural disasters happen and no amount of planning can avert them. But many of our elected leaders to refuse to accept reality — that fighting fires, cleaning up after earthquakes, hurricanes and the like — takes resources. Which means taxes. Nobody likes paying for them, but nobody likes the consequences when we don’t prepare, either. And the folks who stamp their feet and say cut my taxes are the first ones to gripe.

    Thanks for your comment, GOF!


  6. GOF

    I must admit to gross ignorance of your country’s politics…..(George W was the final straw which broke my ‘wanting-to-learn back”) but in Australia there are few more unifying events than a major bushfire or other natural disaster. Looters disgust me, although I’m sure we’d have similar problems if one of our bigger cities was affected by a disaster.


  7. Too angry to respond swithout buckets of profanity, so I’ll restrict myself to YES!!!!
    WELL %^&*( SAID!!!

    and hopefully come back later in a more civil frame of mind.


  8. Elyse, this is fabulous. One of your best. God only knows how we’re going to turn this corner as a country. This Norquist creature is just despicable. What GN and his cronnies don’t seem to understand or care about is that this neglect is going to come home to bite them in the butt at some point and when it does, they will rue the day, because economics is a moral issue and the more they neglect that morality, the more the manifestations of that neglect will come home to roost. Well done!


    • Thanks, Eleanor.

      There are so many layers to this issue, aren’t there. But I don’t think appealing to morality works — so many people have become completely immoral, and so many are profiting off (politically or financially) from the demise of the willingness to care for our fellow man. (And that doesn’t mean handouts — it means working together.)


  9. I never got a chance to comment on this (I did the ol’ “like” and run). Just wanted to say I whole-heartedly agree with this post. I’ve never bitched about taxes. And I pay a good plenty. My philosophy on taxes has always been, “You get what you pay for.”


    • Thanks Angie. I think people just need to wise up a bit and think about it. It is often the states that have the most to gain who stamp their feet against taxes the hardest.

      Not that I like them, of course, who does. I do like what they pay for though.


  10. Once again, your words … I wish these words could resonate with everyone’s ears. Life is about sharing and caring. Not building a personal empire. Thanks Elyse. Love it, again.


  11. Ever since the 1989 San Franciso and the 1994 Los Angeles earthquakes, California has been upgrading and retrofitting its bridges so those 1 or 9 bridges are probably in the other 49 states……….lol


  12. Your tactful, sadistic side came through on this one. We need a sizable, yet sensible infrastructure investment – and one would think that Washington could find agreement on this issue!


  13. Excellent post Elyse, with an excellent message right on target. I’m just sick to death of the fanatical fools and idiots ruining this country, when America still has the potential for greatness.

    My wife and I saw the fireworks in Boston at the Esplanade last night, from our canoe in the the middle of the Charles River. We had a great vantage point, and a great time. But when a crowd of rowdies on shore starting chanting “U.S.A.!!! U.S.A.!!! U.S.A.!!!” with mindless and inebriated enthusiasm, my immediate reaction was to yell loudly back at them “U. R. DRUNK!!! U.R. DRUNK!!! U.R. DRUNK!!!” (for real) Cause I’m just sick of all the patriotic expressions of idiocy with nothing deeper or constructive behind it, and often a destructive agenda to ruin America instead.

    My wife and I also joined the Obama campaign the other day, to work the phone banks calling voters in New Hampshire one night a week, and also do door to door canvasing in NH, every other weekend. Because the outcome of this presidential election is crucial, the race is going to be extremely close, and those four electoral votes in NH are going to really matter.


    • Good for you Chris, joining in the cause. I’ve worked campaigns for years, including the primaries for Obama 4 years ago. I’m registered for the VA races and Obama. I love phone banking. I end up with great stories (for another post).

      But I agree with you in your annoyance with the way some folks express their patriotism. Wrapping oneself in a flag or waving one does not make one a patriot. (In fact, I feel the opposite is true. Some folks think that all they have to do to be good citizens is to wave the red, white and blue. I disagree.)

      Great spot for fireworks watching!


      • Thanks for the work you’ve already done for the cause, Elyse. We both always vote, but this is our first time getting involved with working for a campaign. Maybe a weak excuse here, but after living in MA for so many years, and a state with a long history of voting progressive and democratic, it didn’t seem like we were really needed to fight for the outcome of a campaign. Yeah, it’s really a weak excuse and exposed by two words: “Governor Romney”.

        But when Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy’s seat in the Senate, it was a shocking and very rude awakening, and a local example right in our faces of just how far things have headed in the wrong direction nationally. So when the Obama people called and stressed the importance of winning New Hampshire, we were ready to go.


        • And you will be helping Elizabeth Warren, too. She is my current hero.

          I love doing phone banking. It makes me feel like I’m making a difference — I can help convince folks, or get them to go to the polls.

          But I don’t get a halo for this. I am personally responsible for George W. Bush’s election: my absentee ballot didn’t arrive and I couldn’t vote in 2000. I’m sorry.


  14. Thanks, Arindam!


  15. I am going to support you, even though I know it hardly matters to those people who are in power. Still It was a great post. 🙂


  16. The Brent Spince bridge here (the I-75 bridge that goes from Northern Kentucky into Cincinnati) is way past it’s expiration date and was never designed for the amount of traffic it handles on a daily basis. I’ve been waiting for that bridge to crumble for years. They finally (just recently) approved plans for a new bridge but lord knows when they’ll actually get around to building it.


  17. Yes and more yes to this post. At some point you can’t do less with more, you do less with less.


  18. One of my favorite places in the world, well two actually is the Garden of the Gods and Manitoo Springs, both in Colorado. I had a project several years ago outside of Denver and would simply spend weekends and drive, up over the mountain, stopping now and then just to breath. Now, well now it is gone. All for the idiocy that is SELFISHNESS and ME FIRST at the expense of the nation and fellow citizens.

    What rocks me back is 99% of those carry signs and screaming haven’t got a pot to piss in or a window to dump their refuse out of.

    Already there are demands and cries for Federal Emergency aid from those who decry the Government has to much power. Of course they do until it is you who need their aid / support or the monies your fellow citizen has paid into the public kitty; then by God ante up and the rest be damned, never mind those children who might be starving, those men and women without jobs, those who might have lost their access to health care…no indeed they are not nearly as important as you who might be inconvenienced for a bit while awaiting the payday from your insurance provider.

    Sorry do I seem bitter?

    You did an excellent job, as you always do.


    • Thanks, Val.

      I’m not bitter, I’m angry. Angry that we have allowed ourselves to be convinced that we don’t have to pay the piper, but can dance. Essentially we’ve all been dancing at our own funerals for decades.


      • Indeed and we are not wearing pretty shoes. I don’t know of a single person that likes paying taxes. I shudder at my tax bill every year. I despise hitting the send button on my quarterly payment. Yet, I do it.

        I do not understand those who believe they should do otherwise. Members of my own family (biological) who grew up with little to nothing, who beat that drum of ‘let them eat dirt while I bake a cake’. I want to bash their heads in and see what they have between their ears.

        I am also not bitter, like you I am mad as hell.


  19. cooper

    Looking at the bridge map, it is easy to see that, by percentage, the traditionally poorest states need the most help and the richer states need the least help. No surprise there, I guess.

    And as for elections…sorry…they don’t matter anymore. They used to, but after thirty or so years of bad government from both parties, there just isn’t any difference between democrats and republicans. Neither party has done much to provide the country with some positive direction, it’s more like watching a sandbox full of kindergartners throw toys at each other…


    • It’s always the way. The folks who need it most complain the loudest and vote against their own interests.

      But I disagree strongly with your point that elections don’t matter. They matter very much from school board on up. We have to think about whose vision (or lack there of) we want to follow.


      • cooper

        From a local standpoint I agree. I was speaking at a national level..which i maintain is hideoously broken.


        • A HUGE part of the national problem is that the entire GOP is beholden to Grover Norquist; they refuse to pay the piper. And they promote the “ME FIRST/ME ONLY” mentality to the detriment of everyone.

          The Democratic reps have their problems and their problem members. But they on the whole have a better long range outlook. The GOP wants to strip us down to the bare bones and then make sport over the collapse of the safety net we all need. Well, everybody but them. Because wildfires never go in their direction, do they?


          • cooper

            No, because they pay to make sure that they don’t. Lobbyists, rebublican or democrat, have too much power. Period. The congress is elected to represent their constituency but the populace has little or no direct access, where business, through their lobbyists, have full, constant and immediate access….depending the $$$ and deals involved. The national government no longer speaks for the people they supposedly represent. Money talks. The old addage holds true…”(s)He who has the gold makes the rules…”


            • Absolutely. Every politician is bought and paid for. “Campaign contributions” need to be abolished.


            • I agree and disagree with you. About the money and it’s involvement in politics? ABSOLUTELY — and of course it only got worse with Citizens United decision. But there are still many in it for the right reasons. But we have to stop electing ideologs and elect people who react to events and situations with a thoughtful approach not who look at their party leaders for instructions on how to act and how to think.

              The GOP is in lock step. It wasn’t always that way, and money and lobbyists have always been around. (Disclosure, I used to be (a very low level) lobbyist. The Dems, however, think and do act more according to the needs of their constitutents.

              There is another real failing. Sometimes leadership means taking unpopular positions, like healthcare for instance. The GOP’s no-taxes pledge is so ludicrous and who is going to argue with it (well, except me)? What takes leadership is making the difficult laws (Healthcare reform) and making folks realize that it, like the spoonfull of medicine, will help them.

              I’m not sure there are many spines in the GOP.


  20. Clinton

    That is quite the fourth of July post!


  21. I’m voting for you, Elyse!


  22. Pingback: Grover’s Pledge « The Big Sheep Blog

  23. Feel free to send it wherever. Except to the Washington Post. They became a conservative rag years ago (I canceled my subscription and often wish I could cancel it again.)

    I go over that bridge on my way to and from Maine. And my brother and his family live near by (and usually take an alternate route). But it is one of thousands we have neglected. We have become a nation of fools with a few of us non-fools waving our hands saying “THINK!”


  24. Thank you! Fabulous post.
    I wonder if it can be sent on to the Democratic Party so that they can read it out loud! Or Huffington Post, or the Washington Post, or Rachel Maddow. I am increasingly frustrated by the fact that these clear-eyed sentiments are expressed by bloggers, while the progressives in power continue to mumble and play defense.
    (and I think I have been over that bridge in Mass)….


  25. Man, I’ve been hearing about those Colorado fires over here in Saudi for a few days now. A shame. I always kinda wondered where folk found places to put all this stuff they were looting. Why not become a volunteer firefighter or something to help and not further bring damage to the problem?

    What’s Mitt saying about this fire situation? I know he’s got a ski cabin up there somewhere. I was about to say I don’t get how we got this way or when but you have Reagan’s picture here to remind me.


  26. hear hear! We are following fast in your footsteps over here (unfortunately) We were married at the Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs and lived 4 mins north of there in a lovely little town called Castle Rock for 9 of the past 12 years we have been together. Its been shocking for us to see such devastation – and such unpreparedness it seems. I hope they get it together – and at the polls as well. Hope springs eternal, right?


    • Oh, it must be so hard to see that on the news. It is such beautiful country and it is such a shame to see what is happening. And while I don’t think that the town is entirely at fault, the whole mind-set is. Who do these folks think will eventually have to pay the bills. An ounce of prevention …


  27. bigsheepcommunications

    Well said and it seems quite apropos that BRIDGES are crumbling.


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