Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mid-Month Miscellany

I've been out of town, taking a needed break from my desert fortress to revisit my homeland, Tennessee. I've learned something important: You can go home again, and you probably should. After I let this experience simmer and distill a spell, I'll try to write more about what it's like to wander down the roads of childhood and to see roads and towns and courthouse squares bearing the names of your ancestors. What Southern hospitality means, at the hands of family, new friends, and a herd of five horses.

Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide
Is it a given that all who fly these days will get a cold, or is it just me? I even slathered my hands and arms to the elbow with that alcohol-based handwash--not once. Multiple times. Doesn't work when three passengers in your half of the airship are coughing.

Hell, airlines should pay us to fly. It's hazard duty.

The Detroit Three
I've been watching the bailout hearings all morning. Of all the interrogators, the two who most impressed me were Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) and Senator Jon Tester(D-MT).

Tester is that flat-top farmer guy. I already liked him and didn't even know he farms organically. His questions trended around ensuring that no taxpayer money will go to funding overseas plants, jobs, or initiatives. He got those assurances. I appreciate it.

Corker is the former mayor of Chattanooga, TN. I had heard good things about him, I had no real way to assess his work. Now I do. We spent Thanksgiving in Chattanooga, which I last saw in the mid-1960s. His vision and leadership have turned Chattanooga from a polluted, boring runt town to a thriving, green, high-tech, clean, arts-centric hotspot that we'd be happy to inhabit. Corker wondered why we should rescue Chrysler when its own holding company won't invest in it. He doesn't think we should bail out Chrysler when its plan may merely be to stay alive long enough to be bought by someone else. No jobs there! I agree. I liked his approach so much that I called his Washington office to tell him that although I generally can't stand Republicans, he's a big exception. I made sure they know I'm from Tennessee, too. Don't anybody tell me he's a Troglodyte, please. I couldn' bear it.

Georgia on My Mind
What's the matter with those people? Building a trash landfill on top of Union Bethel's 311 slave graves? Re-electing Saxby Chambliss? Disgusting. Some things are self-evidently wrong. Both these actions fit that category. Stephens MDS needs to resolve this with a process and an outcome that honors people, not profits. As to Chambliss, he needs to excuse himself and leave the planet through the slime hole from which he came.

And by the way, Georgia's Democrats and African American voters could do worse than consider what this election says about the critical importance of staying involved in the electoral process even after Obama.