Well, I’m back. Last week I took a forced hiatus from the world of social media and relinquished my role as pajama-clad citizen journalist due to a snafu with Time Warner Cable. And it really doesn’t do any good to rant about the quality of customer service — or lack thereof — on the part of cable companies and many, many other organizations. We’re tethered now to cable, the Internet, mobile phones and so on and most any service problem these days matters.
When is the last time you received a personal letter via snail mail? I digress.
Probably just as well that I was off the grid. Twitter was shut down most of Thursday — and I didn’t even know it until I read a story about the service outage the following day in The New York Times, dead-tree edition. And I managed to spend a few days in Washington without constantly checking e-mail, waiting for updated RSS feeds and so on. Not bad. Not bad. Gee. Just like a return to real life.
Anyway, I enjoy visiting Washington. On this trip, Jessica and her friend Gyorgyi, both visiting now from Budapest, joined Mary and me for the walking tour of the nation’s capital, starting at the National Mall and ending at the White House.
And the National Mall — that long stretch of public park extending basically from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial with the Washington Monument in between — is desperately in need of a bailout. Hey, if we have money to give to clunkers like failed banks and pathetically incompetent Wizards of Wall Street, then we should be able to come up with more than the $55 million contained in the stimulus package to restore what is for many people a first and lasting impression of both the capital and our country.
Here’s from The New York Times, “National Mall Lags in Competition for Cash“:
The Obama administration recently steered $55 million in economic stimulus money toward repairs, but Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that was only a down payment on the nearly $400 million needed to fix up a national park that draws more visitors than Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite combined.
Folks, the grass is as brown as a straw hat. Large chunks of concrete — missing. The reflecting pools starting to resemble a cesspool. And still thousands of people are strolling around each and every day. Would you want them to visit your house looking like that?
C’mon! We can do better than this.
We might not be able to fix health care — but we should be able to repair the National Mall. And most likely put some people to work in the process. Wow. A stimulus project that works. And one that doesn’t involve a clunker on four wheels or on Wall Street.