> -----Original Message-----
> From: Caldwell, Stan [mailto:scaldwell(--nospam--at)halff.com]
> Sent: Thursday, June 21, 2001 10:30 AM
> To: 'SEAINT Listserv'
> Subject: California's Rolling Blackouts
> Venting on this Listserv,...won't do anything whatsoever to solve the
I want to point out that my "rant" although it was political in nature, was
STRICTLY regarding the comments of ASCE, an organization to which I have
belonged, off and on, since I was a student in the late 70s. I was pointing
out how the attitude of "I got mine, let someone else feel the pain" has
gotten us precisely where we are right now, today, with regard to the size
of our government.
I think that Gerard took it far afield in just one post--a pretty good
While there is a "larger philosophy" inherent in my original comments, the
fact is that it has a direct bearing on us as engineering professionals, as
business-people, and (for those to whom this applies) as citizens.
In this case, I am not particular about whose ox is Gored (no pun intended).
For example, in his last run for re-election, I was dismayed to hear radio
advertisements here in Houston for the Phil Gramm campaign--yes, Phil Gramm
the "fire-breathing conservative"--boasting that he had "increased funding
for NASA and made sure NASA jobs were protected." What a crock of ****!
Every politician is quite willing to allow someone else's pet programs to
get the axe, but not his own.
And what happens is, they compromise by saying, essentially, "I'll protect
YOUR pork if you protect MINE."
As far as the ASCE comments are concerned: Gentlemen, it ain't Washington's
money. We all sit around (those of us who aren't fervent believers in
ever-expanding government, that is) and talk about what a shame it is that
the spending never seems to stop, but then our professional lobbyists from
ASCE go on record as saying "MORE PORK! MORE PORK!"
Until the day arrives when you, and I, and every other individual with a
vested interest in government largesse, can agree to bite our piece of the
bullet, and forego a bridge or some other government project because the
belt has tightened, realizing that the sum of each limited pain now might
bring large-scale relief in the future, we will continue to see government
spending spiraling out of control.
Gerard's comment about "oh, fine, let the bridges fall down" is a case in
point. I believe it is up to the government at all levels, to identify
essential projects and services, and realize that, just like the private
sector, it needs to understand how to make do with what it has.
And I'm not even addressing the profligate waste inherent in government
social-engineering initiatives such as affirmative action which reward
people based on anything but the content of their character, people who
without a guaranteed place at the government trough, would be in precisely
the same situation as anyone who doesn't rely on the expanding government
for his prosperity: He'd have to earn what he has legitimately.
If those kinds of entrenched institutions began to be eliminated, I think
we'd find ourselves with more than enough left over to build a bridge or
End of expanded rant.
William L. Polhemus, Jr., P.E.
Polhemus Engineering Company
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