Thumbs Up/Down

Bridge problem

Thumbs Down: There’s an old saying: “For maximum attention, nothing beats a good, big mistake.” So it is only natural that the mistake discovered on the 7th North “Gateway” project this week got a lot of attention.

Some of the massive concrete beams that are part of the new bridge were discovered to be flawed after they were lifted into place. Some pins on beams that are supposed to fit onto the steel plates were misplaced when the beams were manufactured. When the pieces wouldn’t fit together properly the beams had to be lifted back off and hauled away.

The manufacturer of the beams is responsible for making them to specifications, and for providing new beams that work properly. The new beams were expected this weekend, and MnDOT is expecting the work on the other end of the bridge will be able to advance and keep the project from falling too far behind.

McCain’s decision

Thumbs Up: Sen. John McCain of Arizona has decided to end medical treatment for the aggressive brain cancer he has been fighting. McCain, 82, has thus decided to face death with the same courage that has guided him throughout his remarkable life.

McCain followed his family tradition of serving in the U.S. Navy. As a fighter pilot in Vietnam he was shot down and captured, and spent five years as a prisoner of North Vietnam, surviving torture. Upon his return, he undertook a life of public service. Elected to the U.S. Senate, he developed a reputation for following his own counsel and convictions, even when they clashed with his own Republican party. He continued to criticize those in his party with whom he disagrees, most notably President Donald Trump. He cast the decisive vote that prevented the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and even after his illness forced him from Washington, he has continued to criticize the president when he deems it necessary.

With his decision to forego further treatment he is facing the inevitable with courage and honor. His passing will leave a gaping hole in the Senate.