BILL CRAWFORD: Ides of March brings the unexpected

By Bill Crawford

“Beware the Ides of March,” the seer warned Caesar, no doubt with premonitions of spring break and March Madness along with Brutus’ betrayal.
Wonder if anyone saw omens for this Ides (March 15)?
Anyone foresee the implosion of the Mississippi Democratic Party? Wonder if any of my old Republican Party friends still argue the benefits of a “strong two-party system” like we did back in the 70s?
What economic impact will come from the death of earmarks and cuts to social welfare programs, Head Start, and such to poverty-rich Mississippi? Not sure anyone has accurately forecasted that.
Unexpectedly, Gray Swoope is leaving MDA to head up Florida’s economic development efforts. Mississippi will miss his tenacity and professionalism.
Not so unexpectedly, new MDOT Commissioner Mike Tagert helped Dick Hall dump Butch Brown as executive director. Few will miss Brown’s antics, but all should pray for his recovery from cancer.
Some were surprised Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Leslie King to take James Graves’ seat on Mississippi Supreme Court. Leslie deserved this appointment.
You know times are tough in the newspaper business when Sid Salter gets out and Marshall Ramsey goes on the radio.
No surprise that while Congress and many state legislatures fight over spending cuts, the Mississippi Legislature fights over redistricting. But, why in the world did Lt. Governor Phil Bryant work up his own Senate redistricting plan without making sure he had the votes to pass it? Not exactly a show of strength or savvy as he gears up his run for governor.
Do Senate votes to bump up spending for community colleges and public schools portend that Haley’s sway is waning as his term ends and elections near?
Who expected that “Wall Street won the financial crisis”? That’s what one financial wag claims, pointing to the lack of effective new regulations, lack of Wall Street prosecution, and the re-emergence of too-big-to-fail banks. Amazingly, Wall Street now seems to be winning the hearts and minds of our politicians too.
No one predicted the sudden eruption of liberty in the Middle East. But it was foreseeable that Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman think we should go fight in Libya. I suspect most Mississippi military families would agree with me that France, England, or anybody else should take this one on. There are nations with oil and/or humanitarian interests.
Lo and behold, China, which sells us all our clothes and most of everything else, had a trade deficit in February. Like us, the Chinese need foreign oil to fuel their economy. Oil price spikes put them in the red. Not a good omen for us.
The disaster in Japan tells us, as did Katrina, we should expect the unexpected. Pray for all victims.

Bill Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian. Contact him at crawfolk@gmail.com.