Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I just got back from a week in the Berkshire Mountains in Upper New York State. My brother and sister-in-law live there, in an area that was dairy farms when they bought their house. Now they are surrounded by the weekend retreats of New Yorkers with too much money.

But the country is still lovely; and where their house is, they don't have to look at any mansions. That's one advantage of forested mountains. The rocks and trees hide a lot.

I could tell I was coming down with a cold before I left. It was a pretty bad cold and occupied the entire vacation. I gave it to Patrick and my sister-in-law, so there was a lot of hacking and sneezing and nose blowing. At the moment, Patrick has no voice and is at home, since you can't be a policy advocate if you can't talk.

The Internet access at the house was limited, and there was not much national coverage of the Republican Convention. I did not find out about the demonstrations till I got back. It sounds as if they were small and mostly harmless; and the police were over-prepared, over-numerous and over-reactive. It sounds nasty. My home towns were turned into police states; poor people and nice middle-aged ladies who believe in peace were treated like dangerous criminals -- all so a bunch of hotels could make a lot of money.

It is not worth it. We should not have conventions that cause so much disruption. Maybe we need to build an armored complex some place in Kansas, which can be used every four years by both parties.

Maybe we need to stop being so afraid. A few kids broke a few windows in downtown St. Paul. So far as I can tell, that was the extent of the trouble.

Anyway, I'm home; and the cold is almost over.


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