There are about a dozen brush fires in San Diego, San Bernardino and Los Angeles county creeping into populated areas. Scripps Ranch and some other upscale suburbs have been evaculated.
Even here, the sky is grey, the sun orange behind the clouds of smoke and ashes floating down. The air is thick and I smell smoke. All schools and most businesses are closed. There is speculation that some of the fires were set intentionally--and I am waiting for the conspiracy theories to get started. If this wasn't planned by terrorists, it should have been since it's the most cost-effective way to destroy property in Southern California: wait for Santa Ana conditions, and set brush fires. Interestingly, I haven't heard of any fires just the border.
30 people were killed in Bagdad, 200 wounded, as the war drags on months after Dubya's swashbucking arrival on the flightdeck to declare victory. Meanwhile the Times Magazine reports that members of paramilitary units are eating their victims in the Congo's ongoing gang violence.
Unemployment is holding steady even as we are told the US is in recovery and Louis Ruykheiser decares a raging bull market. Corporate CEOs on the average earn 532 times the wages of their lowest paid workers in the US (compared to 20 times in Canada). Employees at the three major supermarket chains here are striking as Vons, Albertsons and Ralphs try to cut benefits in order to compete with non-union Walmart, average employee wage: $8.50/hour with no benefits.
The Anglican Church is imploding and the news items on Anglicans Online were all about the "7 day countdown" to V. Gene Robinson's consecration as bishop of New Hampshire and the collapse of the Church as we know it.
The fire may be an act of God and we are certainly doing everything we can to fight it--firefighters are working, shelters have been set up, concerned citizens are sending food and blankets--Dubya himself was on TV pledging all the help and support he could muster. But everything else is what we did to ourselves, pointlessly, and refuse to fix.
Why do natural disasters galvanize people, but not the economic and political disasters that we ourselves create? Why do people send food and blankets, donate to the Red Cross, and make real sacrifices in public emergencies like this one but grudge paying a few more dollars in taxes to fix all the miseries that are so readily fixable by nothing more or less than money?