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Monday, August 06, 2007

The bridge...

The reach of the disaster is far and long. A client of mine, with whom I have a great relationship and who lives in the Pacific Northwest called me Thursday and left a message "Call me when you get this message." I did. I told him that I'd been using that bridge since it was dedicated. That I'd crossed it thousands of times, sometimes over ten times a day. The last time was, well, sometime within the week before it collapsed. For forty years, I've never given the bridge a thought. I always looked at the cityscape at night going south. I look at the four smokestacks at the NSP plant (or Excel or whatever their calling themselves now) just north of the bridge and think of my grandfather. But now come the harpies of the lack of logic loony and bile and vitriol consumed left.
I race sailboats. On Saturday as we gathered, one of the members of our group is a professional, registered engineer who also owns a nationally known and well respected engineering testing company. I asked him if he'd been contacted about the 35W bridge. Oh yes. To be an expert witness for plaintiffs and defendants. Our resident screaming radical lefty came up and asked him about his thoughts. My engineering friend said that it's going to take a long time to find out what failed. He commented that it was more than likely a metal fatigue failure. But where, what and why will take time. And the lefty screamer? Who has an engineering undergraduate degree...but is also an attorney...he knew exactly why that bridge failed. He kept hammering at me three times "What did Pawlenty do with the gas tax increase??? What did Pawlenty do..." I finally responded "He vetoed it". At which point Mr. Screamer screamed "MY POINT EXACTLY!!!" as he stormed off. As I screamed at his back side (where all his reasoning and discernment ability reside) "And in which direction did the sun rise that day? The EAST! MY POINT EXACTLY!!!" Made as much sense as did his diatribe. (Ever notice that lefties love two dia words and loathe one? They love diatribe and diarrhea of the mouth but loathe dialogue).
Lefties' logic always seems to go from point A to point Q with no intervening connections at all. And/or, they present correlation as causation (as I sarcastically did with my where did the sun raise comment and all lefties do with global warming, crime, and many other of their wasted causes). So, the questions I'd ask The Screamer would be: Okay, fill me in on how the gas tax increase veto felled the bridge or how blame is attached-
  1. Did the veto this year mean that we didn't have money over the past decades or years to do inspections? Uh, no. Inspections went on as scheduled. The last one being in May 2007. No immediate concerns were raised. My engineering friend even commented about a test done in either 2000 or 2001 by the University of MN where the engineers put stress detectors on the bridge and ran fully loaded semis across the bridge. The result? No discernible concern about over stress on the bridge.)
  2. Well, then, did the veto this year mean that we don't and didn't have the money to do the requested or suggested repairs and maintenance? Ah, again, no. All suggested repairs were done. As were any maintenance suggestions.
  3. Well, then, were there engineers in the past that knew that there would be a Republican governor elected and re-elected and be serving in 2007, and so plotted...well, with the mindset of the lefties, who knows whether or not this could be considered true.
And will Mr. Screamer ever say that the money that went down the Ventura/Mondale Memorial Choo-choo sinkhole would have been better used for bridge maintenance/repair? Oh, no. He extols the virtue of the Choo-choo. The $1 billion dollars wasted this year on "transit" rather than used for highways, roads and bridges? Ha! Yah. And will the voters of Minnesota realize the huge mistake they made in voting a constitutional amendment where at least, at least 40% of all monies from vehicle sales tax would fund anything but bridges and roads. And the way the amendment is worded, 100% of vehicle taxes could go to "transit", NOT motorized vehicle infrastructure, such as the 35W bridge.
But, to show how out of touch Mr. Screamer is, he commented that it would take years to clear the river. His support? "Why, have they even cleared Ground Zero?" (The World Trade Center site). My reply-"It took about 6-7 months. It's been done for years." (BTW, I remember a few years ago we were talking about some market function where the market was buying or doing something where Mr. Screamer stated with great conviction "Well, the market is WRONG!" Yup, millions of people making independent decisions on what was good for them were wrong. Only Mr. Screamer is right and the market should be controlled by his decisions. And he sees to it that government is in charge, not you and me.) He then went on to say it would take at least 5 years to complete a new bridge. If you get the government out of the way, I'd be willing to bet it could be done in under 2 years, easy, with months to spare. And it appears that that may be much closer to the truth than Mr. Screamers' prognostications.
So, a highly repsected and regarded engineer doesn't know why the bridge fell. But every brain dead lefty does: Iraq, Bush, Pawlenty, Carol Molnau, Grover Nordquist, David Strom.
But, as Jason Lewis commented last week, it's never government. Only the Republicans.


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