Pons asinorum II
An extreme irony: As the bridge was collapsing, Rep. Oberstar (the NON-ENEMY congressman from the Mpls area) was on the House floor managing debate on a bill to increase funding for infrastructure on the upper Mississippi, and he was discussing problems with locks, dams and bridges. He really deserves to shout "I told you so".
More logical suspicion: The feds have ordered a crash program to "inspect" all similar bridges. First: this doesn't make sense from an engineering standpoint; these bridges were built at different times and experience different climates, different levels of maintenance and traffic conditions. Thus they shouldn't all be ready to collapse right now. The only reason for an emergency inspection of all such bridges RIGHT NOW is if we suspect the enemy has planted, shall we say, foreign objects, on all such bridges. Second: the inspection method doesn't look appropriate. Fatigue assessment generally requires a long-term set of precise measurements, as detailed in this research paper
which happens to deal with the Mpls I35W bridge. You won't really learn much by a single visual inspection WITH BINOCULARS FROM BELOW, as the inspection teams are doing. The latter method would
be highly effective for detecting foreign objects placed on the structure of the bridge.
The predictable: As usual the brand-R and brand-D politicos are using this event to create a false choice. D says we should be spending less on rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure and more on our own. R says we should be spending less on social programs and other 'pork'. In some ways both are right, but unfortunately neither side has any right to say it, because neither side has put any money into infrastructure for the last 20 years. Anyway, it's a matter of will, not a zero-sum game. For instance, Spokane is not a rich city by any means, but it has managed to rebuild three major bridges, pretty much from the ground up, in the last four years, using a mix of bonds, state and federal money. All without
depriving other useful gov't programs of any funding.