“Montgomery County, Maryland, is one of the nation's bluest and wealthiest counties; its perennially awful power service raises the question of whether liberals can make the trains run on time,” Gregg Easterbrook, Atlantic.

Good question and one I was also asking last Saturday when, with my usual sense of good timing, I found myself in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. where it was 95 and no air conditioning, instead of back home in the cool mountains of Vermont where AC is still considered a luxury option and not essential to civilized living.

As I was traveling the roads on that Saturday morning after the storm, I was struck by the passivity of the natives. At one point, our lane was blocked by a large, fallen limb off an oak tree. Traffic was backed up and drivers were doing the natural, resourceful thing – namely, leaning on the horn. A couple of citizens were standing in the road and using their smart phones to take pictures of the offending limb. They were not making any moves to drag it off the road.

Could have been that it was too heavy. But, then, where were the chain saws? Where I live, everyone owns a chain saw (at least one) and can't wait for an excuse to use it. In an emergency like the one in Maryland, the air back home would be filled with the music of two stroke engines and traffic would be moving in an hour. In Maryland, evidently, you take pictures with your smart phone in case you need them in court or to back an insurance claim and then you wait around for somebody from the government to come fix things. And you wait a long time.

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