July 25, 2007

Mercury -- not just a Planet

Mercury is a poison that I grew up with. It was in thermometers and I am sure other items. For as many dangers as we were exposed to it is amazing the kids of the 50s survived to reproduce. But I digress. One of the cool facts about mercury is that droplets move together easily to form bigger drops. I used to break those old thermometers (actually bite through them) when I was tiny so that the mercury would come out and my mom would explain how the mercury was poisonous but cool because of the attractive quality of the substance. Ummm, this is a circuitous way to get to my topic tonight. I think the way the mercury gathers is the way that big business is gathering together these days. Merger after merger after merger is hitting law firms, cell phone companies, electric grids. And that aggregation of power is just as poisonous and attractive as mercury ever was. Why is bigger better? I just don't understand. I am a fan of small unique one off systems which support rather than control prices and are inimical to the populace. My hometown had its own electric plant back in the 1950s. It worked just fine. No brown outs. No outages. Just steady power. Reasonable ... low tech. Nothing special. And that nothing special is what I look for today. No spin, no rationalizations, no "if you just understood the circumstances," language like Alberto Gonzales uses in Congress. The mercury/poison is out of the box, out of the thermometers and has covered the U.S. today. We have moved beyond the original concept of representative government into a badly administered and not so benevolent executive privilege era. It goes against my grain to call the U.S. what I fear it is but that surely is why I have become so disillusioned with Congress and its' newest crop of politicians who have lost the guts to pull the country back together. So tonight when I heard the news casters talk about Pakistan's need to nurture its' democracy, I had to think to myself...."why help them with their nascent democracy when we have surely lost the representative government over here." Mercury rising...

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