Yesterday, I went home for lunch, something I don’t usually do, but I had to run an errand. On the way back to work I hit a traffic jam on the highway. Initially, I wasn’t too concerned, because I was less than half-a-mile from my exit, but the traffic was not moving at all. Eventually, an emergency vehicle passed me on the shoulder. Then one and then another and soon a steady stream of yahoos passed me too. I had a meeting to make at work and if I didn’t get moving, I would be late. At the next gap, I got on the shoulder too. I guess that makes me a yahoo. It turned out that the highway had been closed, because Vice-President Biden had come to town.
My place of business is right next to the airport gate where Mr. Biden’s plane landed and his motorcade launched from. If I hadn’t been stuck on the highway, I would have been locked out of work. My meeting had been delayed and since I had missed it, I took my lunchtime walk across the parking lots. A military C-17 was parked on the tarmac not too far from the airport’s firehouse. I figured it was used to haul Joe Junior’s limo. All of the fire equipment was out of the firehouse and on parade. A bunch of cops were hanging out among them and for some reason the county’s bomb squad, with their bomb disposal truck were there too. To complete this circus, a flighy test F-15 was doing donuts in the sky, no less than 500’ overhead.
Biden was in town to dedicate the South Harbor expansion of America’s Central Port. This is a river barge terminal in Granite City, Illinois and is located on the Mississippi. The political point that Biden was making involved the stimulus. $14.5M of stimulus money was used to fund this shovel ready harbor improvement for transporting Midwest grain. More formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the $831B ARRA was signed by President Obama in 2009. Yesterday was the five-year anniversary of its signature. Not all of that near trillion dollars was well spent, but fundamentally the stimulus succeeded, it kept our economy afloat, when it was in grave danger of capsizing. This post’s title alludes to Soviet style economic central planning, which was eventually proved a failure. Detractors of the stimulus have already piled upon this line of thought. I can’t disagree more. The stimulus was a life line that kept America from drowning in the second Great Depression.
Big White Gloves, Big Four Wheels, created by Jim Dine, is a sculpture in Saint Louis’s downtown City Garden. Jim Dine has been intrigued by the story of Pinocchio for much of his life. In recent years he has explored the temptations, trials and tribulations of the mischievous wooden boy through a series of drawings, prints and sculptures. Like Geppetto, the puppet’s fictional creator, Dine brings Pinocchio to life. The artist believes “the idea of a talking stick becoming a boy is like a metaphor for art.”