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Symbol of Basic Governmental Competence Collapses
A big-ass bridge collapsed for no apparent fucking reason in your East Coast editor's hometown yesterday. Nine people are confirmed dead, but with fifty cars tumbling into the river and at least twelve still at the bottom of the fucking Mississippi and 20 (30?65?) people missing, you can bet that number's gonna rise a bit over the course of the week.
Wolf Bliter covered the news live last night in his usual infurating, rambling, uniformed way -- asking Senator Amy Klobuchar if there'd been any trains on a four-lane freeway bridge, and later asking a driver if he'd beenwalkingalong Interstate 35 before the collapse.
This exchange sums it up:
BLITZER: And Joe, just to be precise for viewers who are just tuning in, this is a bridge, it's called bridge -- the 35W Bridge, is that right?
BLITZER: And is this -- this is a state bridge? It's not an interstate or is it interstate?
COSTELLO: It's Interstate 35 that runs from Minnesota all the way down to Texas.
BLITZER: So it is an interstate. It's an interstate bridge. So this -- it's fair to say this is the major bridge in Minneapolis, is that right?
COSTELLO: It is -- it's an artery that serves the northeast quadrant of the metropolitan area. So I mean 25 percent of the city uses this at a minimum on any given day.
Despite the fact that Wolf Blitzer has apparently never been on a freeway, or to a city not on one of the coasts, or maybe in a car at all or perhaps never even outside of the futuristic International Space Station-based Situation Room, on he went, into the night, reminding us how horrific this all was, mispronouncing "Klobuchar," and showing us the exact same three stock helicopter, ambulance, and school bus shots on his wall of giant TVs.
Confused and alarmed Minneapolitans currently residing in Washington DC turned to the internet for updates, as it was impossible to get a call through to any Minneapolis number for a good 90 minutes after the disaster. Within ten minutes of turning on Twin Cities NBC affiliate KARE-11, we heard the words "nine-eleven," which struck us as offfensive and pointless, but at least the idiotic local anchors knew what a fuckingInterstateis.
But yeah, terror! Terror terror terror! They're striking right in the heartland now, these terrorists, no longer going after internationally-recognized symbols of America's wealth and power, but instead after dinky freeway bridges in mid-sized Midwestern cities! At least, that's what Wolf Blitzer and Norm Coleman and yeah even the local news yahooswantedto report. As usual, you can count on Fox news to make that urge a little more explicit:
"Help us on this one, because a lot of our viewers are concerned that perhaps terrorism was ruled out as a cause here or at least is being downplayed a little bit too much; that it could possibly have been terrorism. What are your thoughts, sir?"
That's Fox's Greg Kelly asking Rep. Jim Oberstar (Minneapolis may not be in his district, but heis a Republicanwilling to appear on Fox and won't scare their viewers too much, unlike Keith "Terrorist" Ellison) to please please please say "nine-eleven" again, as that is Fox's eternal Secret Word and anyone who says it wins $100 worth more of airtime.
Thankfully, we here in Washington don't have to worry about inexplicable rush hour bridge collapses, according to the Virginia DOT and thePost . After all, only 22 of the District's bridges are "structurally deficient," and only 134 are "functionally obsolete," according to the Federal Highway Administration .
Enjoy your ride home, citizens!
PS After Bush finished giving condolences for the bridge collapse he promptly yelled at House Democrats for having an extra $22 million in their spending bill. Has Homeland Security eaten the Department of Transportation so they can manage it as effectively as they have FEMA yet? How goes the War on Collapsing Infrastructure?
I-35W Bridge Collapse [Strib]
Photo: Marie Park Foss/European Pressphoto Agency