It being such a nice day hereabouts, Chris and I went out for a little walk down to the White House to see the trenches and slabs of asphalt that until recently were Pennsylvania Avenue and to see this hedge that is home to the rats of Lafayette Park. We didn’t see any rats (they’ve abandoned the bush, and I agree with them), but on our way back to the office we saw John Kerry speaking at the headquarters of the AFL-CIO, which today gave Kerry its official endorsement.

A nice day for a rally. Sunny and above fifty, and around three or four hundred people attending. Members of at least a dozen unions that I could identify by their placards, along with a number of burly suit-and-hair-gel wearing teamster types. A few speakers told stories of their labor-related woes under Bush, like a 20-year Maytag factory veteran about to lose his job to Korea and a striking 18-year Safeway employee (and eight-year cancer survivor) from California about to lose her health care benefits.

Then Kerry. Great hair, you know, easily visible from the cheap seats. His rhetoric was very good for the occasion, though I still don’t have much sense of him other than his ability to read prepared speeches. He can deliver them, though. After three years, Bush with his teleprompter still sounds like a seventh grade debate club member. Kerry – but, let’s face it, anyone – sounds better at the microphone.

Official Hours of Folly prediction: Kerry will get the nomination, then win. Understand that, predictions aside, we at Hours of Folly have our fingers crossed so tightly our shoulders hurt.

After the speech, as Springsteen’s labor-friendly “Born in the U.S.A.” kicked in, Chris and I made our way over to the wrecking ball. There’s nothing left of the building but the one back corner, and the crane operator has to drop the ball rather than swing it, since it’s so close to the neighboring buildings. Me, I prefer swinging, but the spectacle of inertia in action is still quite satisfying. Get down there, friends, to 16th and K, before it’s too late.

I walked down to the wrecking ball the other day with my friend Dr. Eve Wircus. It was cold and windy, and she wanted to head back, but I told her it was worth it. Sure enough, as soon as she caught sight of it she said “yeah, it was worth it.” We watched it for ten minutes, giggling. Eve is cool; she gets it. She agreed with me afterwards that the scene is so appealing because something in us is relieved – a tension releases – when we see order returned to chaos. The purpose of the wrecking ball is to draw aside the veil of Maya. At 16th and K.

From where he was standing at the AFL-CIO today, Kerry was within sight of both the wrecking ball and the White House. Makes you think.

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