CINCINNATI---Saw a fine game last night in Cincinnati's aptly named Great American Ballpark, but I'll write about that later. Right now, a word on the virtues of eschewing interstates that rapidly chew up mileage but also miss a lot. Yesterday we drove from DC to Cincinnati on older highways and were able to see beautiful scenery and also great signs like "Bank of Clarke County: Not Accepting Federal Bailout Money since 1881."
West Virginia featured hills, hollows, hardwood forests, and signs like "Abortion stops a beating heart" and "ARE YOU LOST? JESUS SAID I AM THE WAY." (The GPS device in our rental car thought we were lost and wanted always to move from the narrow path to the broad freeways.) We also drove through small towns like Grafton, which may have been the first to celebrate Mother's Day: Graftonites claim to have invented it in 1908 in the local Methodist church.
We didn't care for the name on one highway: Sen. Robert Byrd. Since players aren't eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame until five years after retirement, how about a law that federal highways and buildings can't be named after politicians unless they've been retired for at least five years? It would be better to name them after military folks who died defending us, but at least we can make the pols wait---and give an impetus to have voluntary term limits.
Our trip through Clarksburg, birthplace of Stonewall Jackson, inspired another thought: If politicians must have something named after them right away, name tax increases after them. The Nancy Pelosi Medical Device Tax. The Obama Capital Gains Increase. How about memorable names on new forms that Congress now wants us to fill out: The Harry Reid $600 Purchase Time-Waster. But rascals are nothing new in American politics: We drove through Parkersburg, where Harman Blennerhasset conspired with Aaron Burr in 1806 to set up an independent country in what was then the American southwest.
Hit the road, Aaron, is what Americans told former VP Burr. Good advice also for me right now.
Editor's Note: Happy 60th birthday, Marvin!