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Here we go again

The wind is picking up and making a whooshing noise in the eaves.  The Nor’easter is expected to blow in tonight.  I’m very concerned about the people who lost their houses in Sandy and now have nowhere else to go.  Some of the evacuation centers have closed so that schools could reopen.  Andrew Cuomo just tweeted everyone to stay safe.  Not so easy to do when there’s no real shelter.  You’d think that the Red Cross and FEMA would be trying to quickly find people places to stay.  Instead, they are increasing the amount of their housing vouchers so the displaced can get new digs.  That might not be easy in a state with unemployment running over 10%.

Meanwhile, Jeff Jarvis, who lives a couple of towns over from me, wrote a very stern letter to his township committee about the state of the cleanup.  There are still a lot of broken and uprooted trees leaning over the road just waiting for the excuse of a stiff breeze to topple onto an unsuspecting motorist.  It’s bound to happen.  There are so many of them.  We’re going to be hearing about accidental deaths by branch bludgeoning for months after Sandy.  It was only two days ago that the utility trucks got around to removing the utility pole hanging over the power lines above Route 206 in my township.  It was marked with orange traffic cones but that was just window dressing.  If that sucker had fallen, two lanes of traffic would have come to a screeching halt.  But since Route 206 is one lane in each direction for most of its snaky length through central NJ, I’m betting that the authorities thought it would be worse to trigger carmageddon all the way to Pennsylvania than hope for the best that no one would be killed.

Our schools reopened today, a week and a half after Sandy.  The reason it took so long is because, like Jeff’s township, our township, one of the largest in Somerset County, NJ, has many semi-rural to rural roads where the school buses have not been able to get around the downed trees, overhanging trees and utility poles, and debris.  And because there is a state law forbidding them from even trying it, for good reason, parents now have the responsibility to get their kids around the obstructions so that they can meet the buses at a cluster site.  Parents tend to get all in a snit over the least inconvenience in the best of times (ask me about the lice outbreak when I was on the board of ed) but in this case, they probably have good reason to be concerned.  I feel for the township authorities.  This is a monumental task.  They’ve done a lot so far and, unlike Bernards Township and Basking Ridge, most of Hillsborough now has power.  But it must be overwhelming the abilities of townships to cope.  The difference is that people who live in Bernards Township where Jeff lives tend to expect better service.   At the very least, there should be a clear pathway for them to get to the airport so they can wait out the power outage in their condos on the Gulf of Mexico. But a week is a long time to be without power even for the well off.  In this particular catastrophe, Sandy was class neutral.  Even the rich can die of hypothermia.

I might note that it is Jeff’s neighbors who re-elected that do-nothing DC golfer, Leonard Lance, as our congressman last night.  Maybe they can appeal to his office for assistance.  Good luck with that.  That’s not to say I am not sympathetic.  I am, especially when it comes to people are elderly or suffering from chronic illnesses.  But sometimes, I have to wonder what they were thinking when they vote for guys like Lance.  Is it worth saving on taxes when you might have had more cleanup crews on the roads?  Perhaps Jeff might bring up the subject at the next neighborhood holiday party and see if the light goes on in his neighbors’ eyes.  I might also note that they all got together and worked on removing the obstructions themselves.  That kind of cooperatively smacks of socialism, if you ask me.  {{tongue firmly in cheek}}

In any case, this is my day to get gas so get it I shall.  I’m running on fumes today.  And while I’m out, I might as well stock up on some D batteries.

And fill my 2 gallon Coleman water dispenser.  And find my damn headlamp…

Result: Americans like Gridlock!

Have you seen that electoral map?  That is one scary sea of red.  In actuality, not many House seats changed hands and the ones that are still in dispute this morning are mostly leaning D.  This is what unlimited money will buy you – a lot of red.

And yet, this is a promising sign.  Demographically, the Republicans have seen their high water mark and are now looking at an ebb tide.  With all the money they threw at this election, this is the best they could do.  Even the most carefully crafted legislative districts and poorly educated electorate probably won’t help them next time.

The bright spots last night happened in the Senate with the election of Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin.  It looks like North Dakota will send Heidi Heitkamp to the Senate, bring the total number of women in the senate to 19%.  It’s a shame we couldn’t hit 20% but I’ll take what I can get.  Massachusetts has never had a female senator so this is a step in the right direction.  I wonder if the Democrats couldn’t have won other races if they had run more female candidates.

As for the top spot, well, we were going to get Pete or RePete.  It’s hard to tell which is which.  I didn’t have a dog in that fight.  But it looks like Obama lost a lot of popular support this year, about 10 million people’s worth of popular vote.

The Democrats will incorrectly assume that Americans want more Republican policies. I don’t think that’s what they want. I think they want more forceful Democrats who can cut through all the messaging money can buy. That’s going to be important going forward because the Republican base is going to start to die off in increasing numbers. Democrats and new parties must be ready to go on the attack.  Why not start now?  There is absolutely no reason for Democrats in the House or Senate to yield a nanometer on any kind of “reform” of the social safety net.  The Republicans are stuck.  This House can ram through any stupid thing it wants.  It doesn’t have to go anywhere.

Now would be a good time for the left to get the band back together for 2014.