Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Friday, August 31, 2007

First impressions of D.C.

OK, I'm settled in now sort of. I just began interning at Human Events magazine and just took a double decker bus tour of D.C.

So what's the first thing I noticed?

The prices.

So what's the second?

Some years back a friend of mine who's Irish and an architect, told me about his trip to the capitol. He said you cannot see it without thinking, "This is the capitol of a mighty empire."


At the time I said, "That hurts. It was supposed to be the capitol of a great republic."

Now I'm wondering if any nation that becomes this big and wealthy has to become something like an empire - or hegemon (which I prefer) just by the logic of the situation.

Yes I know, the US spends more on its military than the rest of the world combined. So, if you're the richest guy in town you'd better have the most insurance and the best security.

These days when I hear Americans ask "Why do they hate us, is it something we've done?" I have to ask in return, "So when have the rich and powerful ever been liked?"

Now I have a really incongruous question to ask, and it's not a rhetorical one, it's about something I noticed my first day here when I saw fire engines racing through the center of town.

Why does this capitol of a mighty empire not have strobe detectors on the traffic lights?

My town of 100,000 (including the transient college population) in Oklahoma does.

If you don't know, a strobe detector is a device on the traffic light array that detects the flashing lights of emergency vehicles, and changes the lights to allow them to pass through intersections unimpeded.

Just wondering is all.


  • At 7:51 AM, Blogger Galt-In-Da-Box said…

    The most likely theory is, because drivers are so "intellectually challenged" today they would still sit there stopped, blocking traffic - and the emergency vehicles - even if the freaking light was green their way.
    I always thought the proper proceedure was to move to the roadside and stop when a fire truck, police car or ambulance was passing by, but apparently, that's much too complicated and logical a process for the driving masses today, so it's been practically amended.

  • At 6:56 PM, Blogger Tom the Impaler said…

    I have it on the best of authority (direct contact with police officers) that the gumball machines typically make people just stop, not move to the side as directed by our high school drivers ed teachers.

  • At 5:11 PM, Blogger Paardestaart said…

    Americans are hated much the same way poor relations hate their more affluent family. The poor see no harm in sponging off them, but the generosity is all the more reason to hate their benefactors. And furthermore hating America is the way a silly Europe and a resenting third world can imagine themselves morally superior to the nouveau riche from overseas.
    It is quite the thing to abhor the coca-cola barbarians - just a stupid habit.

  • At 10:56 AM, Blogger gun-totin-wacko said…

    Sadly, the first answer I came up with is that our congress-critters would probably all demand that they be given strobes, so they could pursue "the peoples business" more easily.


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