Friday, January 30, 2009

Deep Freeze

Dear Sen. Mitch McConnell:

I know your most pressing concern right now is bringing African American and Hispanic voters into the GOP fold. But in case it has escaped your notice, the state of Kentucky is experiencing an emergency prompted by this week’s winter storm.

A winter storm isn't all that unusual in January in this part of the world; unfortunately for the people of Kentucky, especially those in the western part of the state, the area’s infrastructure hasn’t been up to the task:
A majority of residents in the counties farthest west have been without electricity for at least 48 hours, and some are facing as much as two more weeks without it. Phone and power lines are strewn about in McCracken County with many utility poles lying in pieces.

Customers with AT&T cell phone service — who happen to be the majority in the region — haven't been able to get signals consistently since early Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, the state's adjutant general, said AT&T reported as many as 220 of its cell sites and a slew of its circuits were down mostly because of power outages.

The electric companies in Western Kentucky are particularly overwhelmed.

Virtually everyone in Calloway County remained out of power Thursday, said Judge-Executive Larry Elkins.

"The problem is a major feed line into the county — a major transmission line — is broken," he said. "Once we get that main transmission line repaired, then we can find out where the smaller problems are. And that's still a huge number."

I’m sure it’s a great comfort to the Congress Critters of Kentucky that their constituents will never know they just voted against funding for infrastructure improvements, and are now spending their time hand-wringing over how to bring the Republican Party back from the brink of obsolescence.

Meanwhile, Mr. Beale and I are trying to figure out how to get ahold of our friends and relatives in Trigg and Caldwell counties. A friend who had to make the trip into Nashville yesterday “for supplies” told us the area “looks like a war zone.” People can’t get gasoline because the pumps are electricity-powered, cell phone and traditional phone service are both down, roads are still iced over, and it’s a giant mess.

But don’t worry, folks. Your Congress Critters seem to think that tax cuts will solve all of those problems. After all, they’ve worked so well in the past.